House committee holds AG Holder in contempt
Updated: 6/20/2012 4:12 pm | Published: 6/20/2012 4:10 pm
WASHINGTON (ABC 4 News) – The House oversight committee has voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over Justice Department documents.
The vote was 23-17 and was made down party lines.
Earlier today, President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege for the first time in his presidency in order to protect the confidentiality of internal Justice Department communications.
The documents in question are emails between Justice Department officials as they were dealing with the investigation of the failed operation known as "Fast and Furious."
The operation was overseen by the Justice Department and was designed to take down high level gun trafficking from 2009 to 2011. As part of the operation, weapons purchased in the United States were allowed to leave the country instead of being immediately picked up law enforcement, a process known as "gun walking."
The Justice Department hoped the guns would be tracked by to higher level operations in the illegal weapon trade. However, the weapons were not completely tracked and some of the guns ended up back in the U.S. Some of the guns were found at the scene of a December 2010 shootout that killed Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
The House oversight committee has requested internal Justice Department emails discussing the congressional investigation. Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the department has "substantially complied" with the subpoena but Republicans on the committee want more of the internal communications to see if there was any more wrongdoing.
The charges will now need to be put before the full House for a vote.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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