Holder contempt of Congress Wednesday hearing coverage
4:17 p.m. –– The vote is 23-17 for holding Attorney General Holder in contempt and the hearing is adjourned.
4:06 p.m. –Rep. Ann Marie Beurkle (R-N.Y.) reads a statement by the family of the Terry family expressing frustration over President Obama’s use of the executive privilege to withhold documents pertaining to Operation fast and Furious.
3:56 p.m. — Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C) says that Senator Obama called the use the executive privilege a “ruse” but now his standards have changed. Rep. Gowdy wants to know precisely what President Obama is using the executive privilege for.
3:45 p.m. –Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) says, “This is about how we got into this and how we don’t get into it again.” Rep. Norton then claims that Republicans are trying to pin the blame on the Obama administration instead of investigating Operation Wide Receiver under the Bush administration.
3:42 p.m. — Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on the investigation: “This should been disposed of in early 2011.”
3:31 p.m. –Rep. Stephen Lynch’s (D-Mass.) amendment is rejected.
3:20 p.m. — Chairman Issa (R-Calif.): “Brian Terry’s family deserves every penny we have spent.”
3:17 p.m. — Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) says that the entire cost of the Roger Clemens investigation should be tallied up too. Rep. Issa says that the stonewalling costs money too, and that a simple “We allowed guns to walk” would have sufficed in the investigation.
3:12 p.m. — Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) proposes amendment to tally up the cost of the entire investigation and hearings. Chairman Issa asks Rep. Lynch to withdraw the amendment and to instead refer it to their staff.
2:56 p.m. — Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) says in regards to the Justice Department documents, “It is time to turn these things over… This is a systematic stalling, delaying.”
2:51 p.m. — Ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) says that Holder didn’t have enough time to comply with the investigation and that he has been falsely accused of being dishonest.
2:42 p.m. — The House Oversight committee has reconvened.
1:22 p.m. — Chairman Issa calls the committee to recess.
1:10 p.m. — Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho): “I want to get to the bottom of what happened to Brian Terry and others because of the actions of the government… The statements from the Attorney General on May 3 were untrue and misleading.” Labrador again calls for Holder’s resignation for not telling the truth and because of gross incompetence.
1:03 p.m. — Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) says the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are “Just cowboys who think they can just do what they do.”
12:56 p.m. — Rep. Dennis A. Ross (R-Fla.): “We are here today to find out who holds responsibility.” Ross went on to say that a huge amount of information was released about Operation Wide Receiver under Bush Administration, but very little under Obama Administration about Operation Fast and Furious.
12:48 p.m. — Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) calls Operation Fast and Furious “fundamentally flawed” in execution and that senior DOJ officials knew about it before Terry was murdered. Rep. Gowdy continued that Congress has been wasting its time investigating Major League Baseball, the Bowel Championship Series and bringing in Stephen Colbert to Congress. Gowdy also says that Sen. Obama held an opposite view of executive privilege to President Obama.
Video: Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C) on the Department of Justice stonewalling:
12:33 p.m. — Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.): “I don’t think that the Terry family and Mexican citizens care if this is an election year.”
12:29 p.m. — Rep. Davis (D-Ill.) says that Holder has been held to an “impossible standard” and that the Attorney General has been very cooperative and helpful throughout the investigation. Davis went on to call investigation of Holder a ” witch hunt.”
12:25 p.m. — Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.): “Finding Holder in contempt of Congress is long overdue… Holder brought this upon himself.”
12:21 p.m. — Rep. Michael Quigley (D-Ill.) blames American gun dealers and the “gun show loophole” for walking guns into Mexico and selling guns to straw purchasers.
12:19 p.m. — Rep. Chaffetz replied that the investigation has looked into gunwalking before Holder became Attorney General despite the Democrat insistence that the hearings have been held for partisan purposes.
12:16 p.m. — Rep. Lynch (D-Mass.) blames the Bush administration for starting Operation Wide Receiver and that the investigation of Fast and Furious is just being used to target Holder. Issa responds by saying that Holder has retracted his statement that Bush’s Attorney General was briefed about “gunwalking.”
12:06 p.m. — Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Penn.) says that whistle-blowers were “unfairly punished” and says that the tactics of Operation Fast and Furious went to the “highest levels of the administration, which means Holder… the facts have led to legitimate inquiries.”
11:58 a.m. — Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) calls the hearings a “kangaroo court” and that it isn’t an honest attempt to bring closure to Terry family. He says that there should have been hearings about gun laws like the assault weapons ban. Connolly also said that Holder is seen generally as an “honorable man.”
11:55 a.m. — Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.): “Brian Terry has been dead for over 500 days now and no one has been held accountable” Constituents deserve to know who is responsible for death of a border patrol agent, according to Buerkle.
11:53 a.m. — Rep. Clay (D-Mo.): “When one starts out with an assumption of guilt it is hard to admit that one was wrong.” Clay also says that there is no incriminating information and that Fast and Furious investigation uncovered no “so-called scandals.”
11:49 a.m. — Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement: “The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation or the cover-up that followed. The Administration has always insisted that wasn’t the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?”
11:44 a.m. — Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.): “Holder tried to use documents as a bargaining chip to control the investigation… Truth and veracity is essential in government.”
11:32 a.m. — Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) says that the Justice Department deciding what documents are important and which are not is “unconstitutional.” He denounces Holder for using “evolving truth.”
11:24 a.m. — Rep. Kucinich (D-Ohio): “Assertion of executive privilege has taken this hearing to a whole new realm.” Kucinich also says that the conflict between the legislative and executive branches will go “to the courts.”
11:20 a.m. — Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.): “If they wanted to turn over the documents then they would have done so by now.”
11:15 a.m. — Rep. Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) says that Justice Department is cooperating and that he just “doesn’t get the point” of the proceedings.
11:12 a.m. — Chaffetz: “Everyone on this panel should want to put an end to this… we have a moral obligation to get to the bottom of this.” Chaffetz also says that the charge should go to the House floor.
11:09 a.m. — Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah): “The beauty and miracle of the United States of America is that nobody is above the law.” Chaffetz is blasting the Justice Department for delaying so long on Operation Fast and Furious. He calls it “sad and disappointing.”
11:03 a.m. — Issa: “We waited all night for the documents to arrive.”
10:57 a.m. — Rep. John Mica speaking on the president’s use of executive privilege: “This is a very sad day for the United States of America.”
10:47 a.m. — Rep. Carloyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) to Issa: “I am horrified that you are going forward with this contempt charge.” Maloney advocates for stronger gun regulation instead of the continual investigation of Attorney General Holder.
10:40 a.m. — Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.): “The Attorney General has been stonewalling this committee… How much did the president know about this?”
10:36 a.m. — Ranking Democrat of the House Oversight Committee Rep. Cummings (Md.) has begun giving his comments and is speaking on an imbalance of government and that Congress has the right to conduct oversight: “Last night the Attorney General came to us in good faith… but we have held Holder to an impossible standard.” “There have been partisan and highly inflammatory personal slanders against Holder,” continued Cummings.
10:31 a.m. — Issa: “We have not received a credible reason for why documents have not been supplied.” Issa just announced the letter he received about the president using executive privilege.
10:30 a.m. — Issa: “It is clear that Congress relies on truthful testimony… Our purpose has never been to hold the Attorney General in contempt.”
10:26 a.m. — Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa just detailed the tragic death of BAFTE Agent Brian Terry and the launching of the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious: “The Terry family is still looking for answers.”
10:23 a.m. — Issa and the Republican members of the House Oversight Committee have arrived at the hearing.
10:20 a.m. — Everyone is stunned that the president used executive privilege. Republicans are still in the meeting and haven’t come into the meeting room yet.
10:11 a.m. — Democrats are showing up in large numbers: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), Rep. Eleanor Norton (D-D.C.), Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.). Not a single Republican is in the room as of right now.
10:00 a.m. — Nearly a hundred observers were not allowed in the room and there was a scramble to get in. Most of the chatter seems to be that they expect the vote to be for contempt. Cameras are everywhere and it’s packed with reporters.