White House: Contempt decree ‘political fishing’
By GEOFF HOLTZMAN
Talk Radio News Service
WASHINGTON – tghe White House is dismissing Republican efforts to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress as nothing more than a “politically motivated, taxpayer funded, election-year fishing expedition.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that GOP lawmakers are guilty of “political fishing” in their quest to bring down Holder, who they say has shielded them from documents related to a now infamous federal gun-walking program known as Operation Fast and Furious.
“What this is about, is an attempt to score political points,” Carney said. He later accused Republicans of “living up to their announcement” that they intend to damage President Obama politically.
The program, carried out by the ATF, involved allowing agents to knowingly allow straw purchasers for Mexican drug cartels to buy American guns and transport them across the U.S. southern border. The plan was for agents to track the weapons, and arrest the cartel members they ended up with. But hundreds, if not thousands, of guns went missing, with two eventually surfacing at the scene where former ATF agent Brian Kelly was killed back in December of 2010.
Despite Holder’s insistence that he has fully cooperated with a Republican investigation into the matter, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to hold him in contempt, a charge that carries with it potential jail time as well as fines. House leaders plan on bringing the contempt resolution up for a full floor vote next week.
Carney said today that the vote is unwarranted, adding that the administration has already handed over all executive branch documents relating to Fast and Furious. He said also that President Obama’s decision yesterday to invoke executive privilege over other documents House Republicans have complained about not receiving does not mean that the White House is attempting to cover up any wrongdoing in the affair.
“The attorney general referred this matter to the inspector general…Congress has been provided an enormous number of documents….This has gone on for months and months and months…the assertion of privilege has to do with the absolute necessity of retaining the executive branch’s independence.”
Carney later insisted that there is “absolutely” no cover-up taking place.
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