For the first time in history, a House committee voted Wednesday to hold a U.S. Attorney General in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over Justice Department documents.
Eric Holder, the nation’s first black United States Attorney General, has been under fire for weeks by Republicans who are using Holder as a scapegoat to marginalize President Barack Obama five months before the presidential election.
The vote to hold Holder in contempt of Congress was strictly along party lines, with Republicans on the committee outnumbering Democrats 23-17. The decision now goes to the full House for consideration.
Republicans are playing hardball: With polls showing that Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney are neck-in-neck, GOP congressional leaders are trying to cripple Obama by using all the political tactics at their disposal. With the presidential election five months away, Democrats are accusing Republicans of desperate political games with Holder as their pawn.
“This divisive action does not help us fix the problems that led to this operation or previous ones and it does nothing to make any of our law enforcement agents safer,” Holder said in a statement Wednesday.
“It’s an election-year tactic intended to distract attention — and, as a result — has deflected critical resources from fulfilling what remains my top priority at the Department of Justice: Protecting the American people,” Holder said.
Obama showed some gumption Wednesday and proved that he’s standing solidly behind Holder by asserting executive privilege for the first time in his administration in order to protect the confidentiality of the documents.
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