Eric Holder on Contempt Vote: I'm Getting Back to Work, Republicans Should Too

Update: Via Politico: Holder's hanging tough. He issued this statement (video here):
[The vote to hold him in contempt] "may make for good political theater in the minds of some, but it is - at base - both a crass effort and a grave disservice to the American people."

"Whatever the path that this matter will now follow, it will not distract me or the men and women of the Department of Justice from the important tasks that are our responsibility," Holder said. "A great deal of work for the American people remains to be done - I'm getting back to it. I suggest that those who orchestrated today's vote do the same."

The House has approved a civil contempt of Congress resolution against Holder. The vote was 258-95. Earlier, via Politico:

The House has voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, the latest fallout from the "Fast and Furious" scandal. The vote was 255-67, with 17 Democrats joining the majority Republicans in voting yes.

Democrats walked out during the vote in protest.

Holder should not give in to the Republican's whine-fest. They could care less about guns going to Mexico. They care about creating an issue in November.

The Leadership Conference on Human and Civil Rights:

In the 16-month investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Democrats were not allowed to call one witness; and they were refused the chance to call former key players in these operations to testify, including former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former ATF Director Ken Melson. The oversight committee has no credibility in calling this an investigation; it’s pure political theatre.

Also today, New e-mails were disclosed today showing Holder didn't know and demanded answers.

Republicans make disastrous choices when they get to appoint Attorney Generals: John Ashcroft? Alberto Gonzales? Just like they make bad choices when they get to appoint federal judges and Supreme Court Justices.

The Republicans are really showing their desperation. At least we get a chance to vote them out in November. And we will.

Memo to Eric Holder: Hang tough.

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    If today's contempt vote (3.67 / 3) (#7)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 12:42:15 AM EST
    didn't put the final nail in Obama's "working together" delusion, nothing will. Holder did his part, now it's time for "O" to pick up the spear and drive it right through the lying, corrupt, anti-American mutants masquerading as a political party.

    I don't care if Obama doesn't get a single bill passed  the next four years. If he spends every day of his Presidency calling out those Neanderthal heathens for what they are, the Jim Jones Party of America, he will have left a great legacy.

    How can anyone defend the DOJ's coverup? (2.00 / 1) (#9)
    by lousy1 on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 05:57:45 AM EST
    As a mildly interested spectator, it seems that the DOJ was obviously engaged in a cover up (witness the withdrawn letter) of facts pertinent to a real crime; the murder of an ATF agent. Once an agency is caught lying it is disingenuous to assert that they are thoroughly investigating themselves internally, particularly when the investigation is shielded.

    Its hard to envision a more compelling candidate for congressional oversight. The protracted, obstinacy and delay by the DOJ is obvious.

    The DOJ must fess up and deliver all material even remotely relevant to this investigation. They have lost the public trust.

    The underlying facts of this case are certainly more relevant to most Americans  than the question of what lawyer/ client communications are privileged as in the case of Harriet Myers where there was no underlying crime.

    The contempt citation was required and overdue.

    Does anybody besides me think that the CBC's walkout was based solely on race. Would they have walked out had the AG been of Japanese extraction? I find this distasteful. The facts are more than sufficient for the citation.

    do you also think the contempt citation itself (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by DFLer on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:03:03 AM EST
    may have been based solely on race?

    I don't (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:25:20 AM EST
    I think they want the documents and a privilege log because they know the administration screwed up big time and it could be embarassing and could possibly be an election issue. (Which is not to say that if the administration screwed up, it also shouldn't be held to account).  It wouldn't have mattered if the AG was black, white, or green with purple polka dots.

    Nice guess, but (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:09:12 PM EST

    This well-sourced article in Fortune magazine, of all things, blows the whole premise of the Issa "investigation" right out of the water.


    I think that's what you want... (3.50 / 2) (#16)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 09:48:24 PM EST
    you seem as anxious for it as any Republican.

    That would be a great theory (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 06:33:04 AM EST
    Wrong, on your part of course, but a great theory.

    I say, a border patrol agent is dead because of guns we sold to drug runners.

    You apparently think there is nothing to hide. you are entitled to your opinion of course, but I think you are terribly wrong.


    Given that those who seemed most (none / 0) (#26)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 08:02:50 AM EST
    outraged and apoplectic over the administration's failure to turn over documents seem to have had a lot of their anger cooled and their desire for information reduced by having held the attorney general in contempt of Congress, I would say that this has been a year-long show with a goal of embarrassing the administration.

    As for theories, you once again have put words in my mouth that just weren't there.  My comment had to do with your inability to see that while there very well may be something there that needs to be examined, that's not what drives Republicans; they don't care about gun-walking, they care about the things they always care about: embarrassing a Democratic administration.

    When your love for punishment meets Republicans, you end up sounding like a cheerleader not just for their fake law-and-order show, but for all the other repressive, restrictive, austere goals they have for the lives of those with the least power.


    "We" sold no guns to anybody (none / 0) (#27)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 11:23:12 PM EST
    in this operation.

    For God's sake, go read some other sources, particularly but not exclusively the Fortune article, before you "opine" any further on this because you don't have your facts straight. You're regurgitating Issa-generated misdirection and flat-out lies.


    I think I pointed out why the contempt charge was (none / 0) (#13)
    by lousy1 on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:57:17 AM EST

    I don't remember race being a remote issue. However if you can find evidence that race played a important part in the deliberations please feel free to edify me.


    Why the sudden need for "evidence"? (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Yman on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 04:07:24 PM EST
    You cited no evidence for your speculation that the walkout was based solely on race.

    Darrell, is that you? (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:03:23 PM EST
    the documents (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Tov on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:11:55 PM EST
    at issue are not relevant to the initial investigation of Fast and Furious. They are  dept. documents relating to the inner deliberations within the JD concerning the response to Sen.Grassley's letter which the JD admitted was factually incorrect. That is why they are covered by the deliberative process privilege invoked by POTUS. IMO this is a fishing expedition. If Con. Issa was truly concerned with the errors made by the ATF and others he would wait until the IG's report is complete and try to draft legislation that prevents this from happening again. There is a very interesting piece of investigative journalism in Fortune magazine on FandF which debunks many myths about this sad program. BTW Fortune mag. is hardly a liberal leaning publication. I choose to wait for the investigation to conclude before charging Holder with contempt. I predicted in an earlier post that the DA for DC would not prosecute the AJ. I was right.

    Oh puhleeze! (2.00 / 2) (#15)
    by lobo58 on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 09:28:11 PM EST
    Had Holder and Obama taken a road trip to Guadalajara and capped 300 Mexicans and two border guards, on their own, over a long weekend, and the entire hunting trip had been filmed, you'd still be claiming there was nothing to see.

    Just release the documents the committee requires and the problem goes away.

    Or does lying to congress only matter if you're a MLB pitcher?

    The criminal contempt (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 04:17:32 PM EST
    Will go nowhere.  It gets referred to the US Attorney for DC, who works for (wait for it)....Eric Holder (and is an Obama appointee).

    The civil contempt allows the Committee to file suit forcing Holder to turn over the documents and a privilege log.

    Just like they make bad choices when they get to appoint federal judges and Supreme Court Justices.

    Seems like one particular Bush appointee saved Obama's bacon today.

    I think the referenced (none / 0) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 07:15:46 PM EST
    Bush appointee may have had some self-interest in that bacon-saving maneuver.  The role of the Chief Justice, he must have determined, is more than writing "spirited dissents" or rendering Bush v Gore-like decisions.  Unlike Rehnquist, he is at the peak of his career not at his nadir and he has to look to the long-term credibility of the Court. Citizens United may have been enough for a while and Scalia and Thomas (and his wife's) relationship with likes of the Koch Brothers might be a bit much at this point.

    Roberts may have hoped that Kennedy would be the spear-catcher on this one, but with that not panning out, he stepped in and found the mandate to be both a penalty and a tax, and which one  did not matter to the Constitution.  He is 57 years old and has a long time to redeem himself with the wingers, as there are many decisions yet to be made.


    Dahlia Lithwick (none / 0) (#5)
    by desmoinesdem on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 12:03:09 AM EST
    predicted the court would uphold hcr for similar reasons--she thought Roberts would preserve the legitimacy of the court and keep his powder dry for later decisions that undo the New Deal.

    Except (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:26:43 AM EST
    That Bush appointee doesn't need a "bacon-saving manuever" - he's got a lifetime appointment and he's only in his 50s.  He's set for the next 20-40 years.

    Obama, on the other hand, only has 6 months - 4 1/2 years left.


    And the Democratic walkout (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 04:25:50 PM EST
    Just like the Republicans did during the Harriet Miers /  Joshua Bolton contempt hearings.

    (See comments 12-16)

    my rep (Boswell IA-03) (none / 0) (#4)
    by desmoinesdem on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 12:02:00 AM EST
    was one of the 17 Dems. Not surprised--he always works to preserve his A rating from the NRA.

    I agree (none / 0) (#6)
    by Tov on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 12:29:41 AM EST
    I am sure Holder will continue his great work as AG...it is all a political intimidation effort aimed at thwarting his work on voter rights and other civil rights issues. The hearings(which I have watched) have been a joke...but I am not laughing.  

    A perfect day. (none / 0) (#8)
    by lentinel on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 04:15:26 AM EST
    The NYTimes reports that

    House Democrats said Mr. Holder talked to Democrats at a White House picnic on Wednesday to hold Democratic yes votes to a minimum.

    I didn't know they were having a picnic on Wednesday.

    Two thoughts (none / 0) (#14)
    by lentinel on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:18:00 AM EST
    As lousy1 writes above, I think this action by the DOJ is indefensible. Both the original F&F and the coverup.
    People were killed, were they not?

    The other thought I have is that I have never seen the Dems so riled up at the Republicans. This action, holding Holder in contempt, has their heads exploding in righteous indignation.

    Other actions by the Republicans, such as the former President's criminal activities, not so much. Let's move on, they say.

    The ongoing existence of Gitmo, blamed on the Repubs, not so much.

    The sinking of the public option, blamed on the Repubs, not so much.

    All I can suppose is what gets the Dems afussin and afeudin has to do with politics. Pelosi thinks that since she and the Dems let Karl Rove off the hook, the Repubs owe them something in return. She's miffed.

    But the Republican policies of suppression of civil and human rights, detention without charge or trial, throwing people in jail for smoking a weed, etc. -- that stuff doesn't disturb 'em. All I can suppose is that the Dems identify with these atrocious policies. From top to bottom.

    But they don't like to get their hair mussed.

    You need to look up (none / 0) (#18)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:05:13 PM EST
    the very recent long Fortune magazine (yes, amazing, Fortune) article on all this.  Bottom line, the whole thing is bogus from start to finish.  There never was any "gun-walking" in "Fast and Furious."

    Virtually every single thing the GOPErs have said about this is a lie.  Surprised?  No, me, either.


    Fortune Magazine (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Eddpsair on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 03:26:52 PM EST
    I read the article.

    Thank you for the entertainment.  One particular part i enjoyed was the casual mention of the ATF taking credit for an operation MY agency actually executed.  

    The most realistic part was about the huge childish squabbles on who would work weekends  on a T3....  That was spot on!!!  No kidding.  100% correlation on every single T3 I have done.  

    *And I am wondering if you noticed Voths email, dated Mar 2010 and took the time to read it where he says to every member of his group, "Whether you care or not people of rank and authority at HQ are paying close attention to this case and they also believe we (Phoenix Grp VII) are doing what they envisioned the Southwest Border Group doing."*

    ummm.. Would that be the same HQ that denies any knowledge of the operation a year later?

     To avoid any confusion, "HQ" when you are a group supervisor in Pheonix, means: ATF HQ in Washington.

    The ATF didn't let guns walk...  Hmmm...  I DO understand the author point...

    If I, as a law enforcement officer, see you being assaulted and robbed and sit in my car during the assault while you call to me specifically that you are being assaulted and robbed and ask me to intervene; and I do nothing except observe...and then in anger you say, "You let the robber get away."....and I say to you, "Technically, you are wrong.  Because i never had him in custody, so he didn't get away from me."

    Under that theory of the law, the author is correct in her assertion that the ATF didn't let guns walk.

    The author then blames, the US Attorney, Arizona law (incredibly silly since it cannot be less restrictive than federal laws the ATF gets paid to enforce and the ATF doesn't go to state court), gun dealers, bloggers....  Everyone except the agents in charge of executing the operation. 


    I'm (none / 0) (#21)
    by lentinel on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 04:33:13 AM EST
    not surprised that the GOP would lie.

    As I mentioned, they lied us into a tragic war, from which we have yet to recover. And, from my point of view, that goes for Afghanistan as well.

    But, my point was that this is the first time I can remember the Dems united in indignation.

    Bush's wars and other criminal activity, the refusal to close Gitmo, detention without charge or trial, the sinking of the public option etc, have not evoked this level of outrage from the Dems. These are GOP policies. For those, the Dems just sigh and shrug - if they react at all.


    LEO POV (none / 0) (#22)
    by Eddpsair on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 01:50:33 PM EST
    I have followed this case closely since it broke early last year and saw the curious signs of it in the months leading up to the death of Agent Terry.

    I am an LEO, work the border quite a bit, have almost two decades of specialized surveillance experiance and have done too many buy walk ops to count.

    The fact that something was rotten in Denmark was apparent to ANY experienced LEO who works contraband cases with a major agency against the Cartels.

    If this had been a one time op, consisting of all rookies, one might have been able to excuse it as the stupidest buy walk ever conceived. It could ONLY fail by conventional metrics.   But I got suspicious for the exact same reason some of the whistle blowers did.  The people in charge were highly experianced.  They had to know EXACTLY how seriously flawed this program was.  It could not be a mistake or an accident.

    And inspite of what would normally be considered "complete failure" as the results, they kept doing it for many, many months... That means they wanted the results they were getting.... The level of failure they got on almost every single buy walk purchase of Fast and Furious would normally lead to administrative disipline in most agencies.... "Say what, you lost the guns, AND the perps again???".  

    Because the results were so predictable, the continuing outcomes were obviously desired.  The next question you ask is, "Why on God's green earth would they want that?".  Why didn't they tell Govt of Mexico?  Why didn't they tell State?   Why didn't they even at least tell ATF leadership in Mexico?

    It was absolutely apparent that Mexican cops would die if they didn't work with one or all of those agencies.  As surely as giving missiles to the Afghan Mujahdeen in the 80s brought down Russian helicopters....

    Calderon would be jumping up and down on Pres Obama's desk if he had known.  Hillary would do a beat down on Holder.  Pinetta would have held Holder down for her.  

    *Federal Law Enforcement does not like scandals.  We had a few hookers in Columbia and 6 federal agents were fired within a week.*

    While an AUSA has retired, and another ATF upper level has been reassigned at the same pay grade, NOBODY has been fired at ATF in the year and a half since this came to light with the death of a CBP agent.

    Two federal agents have been killed and scores are dead on the other side of the border.

    GoM has asked for extradition of some of the ATF agents involved.

    If I was head of an agency, and some of my people did something that ill advised that was linked to the death of two federal agents and scores of citizens of another country including their law enforcement officers, heads would be rolling and getting punted, far worse than they would for a couple of hookers complaining....

    The secret service fired more people in one week over a hooker than DOJ/ATF has in a year and a half over dead bodies of fellow agents.

    If you, as an attorney, asked for documents and got 2% of what you asked for and they were highly redacted, in some cases more black then while on the paper, how long would it take you to compose a motion to compel?

    Under the theory of some people here, Watergate would just have been an obscure footnote in history about a petty burglary because RM Nixon had every right under executive privledge to protect his inner circle from their criminal acts.  He didn't, and that is where this too will go.  

    I don't know if Eric Holder is involved.  But radical operations like this get signed off pretty high.  Anyone who goes off the reservation that far on their own is looking at getting fired in federal law enforcement.  And these guys were career ATF so they weren't going to jeopardize their jobs without operating with high cover.

    If there were agents being fired and leadership forced to retire in the last year, I might buy it.   But one could theorize they can't fire people up high because they will flip when prosecuted.  

    And and there aren't a whole lot of theories left to explain why everybody still has a job....  

    2% of the documents turned over, dead bodies stacked up like cordwood, and nobody is fired?  Not even for incompetence.

    But sexually harrass women in air force recruit training and they charge Sgts criminally and fire the Colonel who was the commander of thousands in the Training command.  

    THAT is how it normally works.

    The only people the ATF has gone after has been the whistle blowers....

    No reason for concern here citizens...move along, nothing to see....