…And away we go. Bridget Johnson writes:
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 23-17 along party lines to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress today, pushing forward with the action even after the White House slapped an 11th-hour executive privilege on subpoenaed documents still sought in the Operation Fast and Furious investigation.
Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said an official communication from President Obama had not been received by Congress at the time of this morning’s meeting, but the committee had received a multi-page letter from Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole informing them of the action just minutes before the hearing, which was scheduled earlier this month.
“We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the Committee’s concerns and to accommodate the Committee’s legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious,” Cole wrote. “Although we are deeply disappointed that the Committee appears intent on proceeding with a contempt vote, the Department remains willing to work with the Committee to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues.”
“Our purpose has never been to hold the attorney general in contempt,” Issa said in the hearing’s opening, noting that Holder was offered an accommodation to produce the requested documents on the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal. “As late as last night his offer was only to give us a briefing and then only if we ended the investigation.”
“This untimely assertion by the Justice Department falls short of any reason to delay today’s proceedings,” the chairman said of the executive privilege.
“Members on both side of the dais have repeatedly said we owe it to the Terry family to get to the truth.”
Of course, some members of Congress rather more reluctantly than others.
As Peter Wehner asks at Commentary, “What is the Obama Administration Hiding, and Why Are They Hiding It?”
At the Tatler, Bryan Preston adds:
Asserting executive privilege has forced MSNBC to cover Fast and Furious. Kelly O’Donnell spent about half a minute describing the scandal, which she described as a gunrunning scandal that resulted in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens. She left out ICE Agent Jaime Zapata, whose murder is also suspected of being connected to Fast and Furious.
But we had to pass the contempt charge in order to get the media to find out what was in Fast and Furious.