Vote PASSES, Eric Holder in CONTEMPT - Obama Executive Privilege & "Evolving Truth" No Good in Fast and Furious
The House Oversight Committee has just passed a Resolution 23 to 17 holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for not releasing Fast and Furious documents.
The contempt charge now goes to the entire House for a vote on holding Holder in contempt before it is sent to prosecution.
The committee even passed an amendment with many reasons why Obama's executive privilege is not valid.
The Committee hearing was very interesting. The Democrats, like Reps Towns and Rep Norton, tried to say that the Committee should give more time to Eric Holder because Holder is willing to work with the committee to release some documents.
The Committee Chairman, Rep Issa, made clear that the Committee had given plenty of time to Holder and has been very lenient and even had staff stay up all night waiting for the documents. Issa said that no one is above the law.
The Committee meeting was very long and there were many arguments back and forth. Below are some of the highlights from the meeting: Congressman Chaffets quotes President Obama from when Obama first got into office about transparency. Chaffets quoted Obama from when Obama said that his administration would be completely transparent and would allow freedom of information requests even when the information requested might be embarrassing.
Chaffets said we have thousands of guns given to drug cartels. We have hundreds of people dead across the border. We have a US Border Patrol Agent dead. This is about the Department of Justice and Justice in the United States.
Rep. Mack said that if the Obama Administration and the Justice Department were so willing to get this info out then there would not have been a last minute letter from President Obama to claim executive privilege to hide the documents.
Rep. Kucinich said that now that Obama has claimed executive privilege then the committee should not go forward with contempt.
Chairman Issa said that Kucinich did and probably everyone on his side of the aisle probably voted to hold Harriet Miers in contempt even though Bush had used executive privilege.
Rep Walberg said that we owe it to dead border agent Brian Terry to find out the truth of what happened. He said it does not give him pleasure to have a contempt vote but it has to be done. He said that Obama's evolving truth is not good enough. He said the Justice Department said they would give the committee a fair compilation but then Eric Holder would be in control of what documents should or should not go into that compilation.
Rep Lankford said that If the Department of Justice asked for documents, no US Attorney would allow 7 months to pass before getting the documents. No US Attorney would allow someone to decide which documents get turned over to the DOJ and they would not allow someone to tell them to that instead of getting documents they will get an explanation of the documents. Congress was given false statements from the DOJ. One month the DOJ tells Congress that they did not allow guns to go into Mexico and that was found to be untrue. This same DOJ is supposed to be investigating security leaks. It is important for Congress to find the facts of what happened.
Rep. Buerkle said that Brian Terry has been dead for over 500 days now and still no one has been held responsible. She said that this committee is responsible for finding the truth. Holder has not provided requested documents, and he has been given time and has dodged questions. The lack of transparency regarding the death of a federal agent is sickening and the last minute effort to use executive privilege is sickening. What is being hidden? Are there more people dead that we don't know of? Rep. Connolly talked about kangaroo courts and said we need more gun control and an assault rifle ban instead of a contempt vote.
Rep. Meehan said this is not about kangaroos, this is about a dead border patrol agent. He said Congress was lied to by the DOJ and could not get answers from the DOJ. There is a series of questions that need to be answered and there was knowledge of this program in the highest levels.
Rep Jordan said the committee just wants the information. These documents were requested 8 months ago and not until today did the President try to use executive privilege. Rep Jordan said that executive privilege only applies to communication with the President. Rep Jordan said that Eric Holder sat in front of the committee and said there was never any communication with President Obama about this. Rep Gowdy did a passionate emotional speech about the high level officials in the DOJ knowing about this gunwalking program before Brian Terry got killed and how the committee was lied to by the DOJ about the program while at the same time the DOJ was boasting the program in Mexico. Gowdy said he does not have answers to tell his constituents when they ask him how this agent was killed and who authorized this program. He compared Senator Obama's stance on executive privilege to President Obama's stance on executive privilege. He went on to say that if Obama did not know about this program then what is he doing trying to use executive privilege to protect the information?
Rep Ross said that the American public expects accountability. He said that people need to stop blaming the Bush Administration for the current administration's mistakes and failures to release documents. He said that any gun programs (like Operation Wide Receiver) under Bush did not result in any deaths and were not known by Bush. When Bush found out he ended the program. This is very different from Fast and Furious. Rep Gowdy followed with a more passionate speech about how people need to stop blaming Bush for everything and blaming Bush does not have anything to do with Eric Holder currently not releasing documents.
Rep Speier said that gunwalking still exists because anyone in America can buy guns like ak 47's that they don't need.
Before the final vote to approve a contempt resolution against Holder, the committee passed an amendment with many reasons why Obama's executive privilege is not valid. Some of the reasons include the fact that the time Obama should have claimed executive privilege was 8 months ago when Eric Holder was first called to testify and the fact that the president did not even claim executive privilege and instead they heard it from the DOJ who is not authorized to invoke the privilege.
During the hearing, the Brian Terry family sent a statement to the committee saying that Eric Holder and Obama are trying to prevent the truth from coming out about why their son was killed by Mexican drug cartel members who was allowed to have a gun by the Fast and Furious gunwalking program.
Before the final vote to approve a contempt resolution against Holder, the committee passed an amendment with many reasons why Obama's executive privilege is not valid. Some of the reasons include the fact that the time Obama should have claimed executive privilege was 8 months ago when Eric Holder was first called to testify, and also the fact that the president has not even claimed executive privilege and instead they have heard it from the DOJ who is not authorized to invoke the privilege.
During the hearing, the Brian Terry family sent a statement to the committee saying that Eric Holder and Obama are trying to prevent the truth from coming out about why their son was killed by a Mexican drug cartel member who was allowed to have a gun through the Fast and Furious gunwalking program.