Justice Department Won’t Prosecute Holder

The Department of Justice will not prosecute Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt of Congress. The House of Representatives had voted Thursday to hold the Attorney General in contempt over his refusal to turn over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-walking program.

In a letter from Deputy Attorney General James Cole to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Cole said the decision not to prosecute was “the longstanding position of the Department of Justice” regardless of which party controlled the White House.

Cole cited an analysis written by Solicitor General Theodore Olson, written he was serving in the Department of Justice under President Ronald Reagan. In the opinion, Olson said contempt of Congress “was not intended to apply and could not constitutionally be applied to an Executive Branch official who asserts the President’s claim of executive privilege.”

President Barack Obama has asserted executive privilege with regard to the documents the House has asked Holder to produce.

Cole concluded that Holder’s response to the House subpoena “does not constitute a crime.”

The move was widely expected. The Department of Justice refused to prosecute George W. Bush administration officials who were held in contempt of Congress, and few analysts expected that this would change, especially as Holder is the head of the Department of Justice.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who has been leading the investigation into Fast and Furious, expressed disappointment in the decision. In a statement given to Fox News, Issa said, “it is regrettable that the political leadership of the Justice Department is trying to intervene in an effort to prevent the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from making an independent decision about whether to prosecute this case.”

Republicans will next try their luck in civil court. Republicans had voted to hold the Attorney General in civil contempt, and can go to civil court in an effort to compel Holder to produce the documents they want.

Related Stories

House Holds Holder in Contempt; Democrats Walk Out

NRA to Score Attorney General Eric Holder Contempt Vote

Executive Privilege in ‘Fast and Furious’ Probe Should Come as No Surprise

Image Credit: Ryan J. Reilly

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Michael C.
Michael C.3 years ago

Good to see that the boys club is alive a well in Washington. Why did we ever think things might change?

Andrea Paysinger
Andrea Paysinger3 years ago

More than 7000 documents and hundreds of thousands of emails were submitted to the committee.
AG Holder has complied with every request of documents that it was LEGAL for him to tender to the committee.
Issa has requested sealed testimony of Grand Jury hearings and it is ILLEGAL for those to be given to anyone, especially a crook like Issa.
Grand Jury testimony is always secret, sealed until a federal judge lifts the seal and AG Holder has no control over this. It is the same at every level, from local to national.
Issa is beating a dead horse and the stink is going to cling to him and his cronies for years.
He should not be throwing stones because records of his corruption are currently being examined - including current investigations in his own district. He is vile.

Frank Pickens
Frank Pickens3 years ago

Holder is a Obama Quisling. He is as dirty as it gets if there are more documents requested and Obama using his executive power to start protecting Holder you know there is some condeming evidence there.

Frances C.
Frances C.3 years ago

Any documents that they needed were given, they are now on a witch hunt. They keep asking for more and more papers hoping something will show up to justify their ridiculous investigation. When there is no there there it's time to say uncle.

Lynda Duke
Lynda Duke3 years ago

Its not so much "he lied" but that he testified 9 times - how much more must he give? If Homeland Security says no, then Holder isn't to blame for not handing over the documents. His hands and actions were roped and tied. Go after Homeland Security to release those documents.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

What a surprise! And what does this say? You can lie to congress and get away with it...as long as you have a fiend in the White House. Why did they try Roger Clemens for the same thing? What a double standard!!

Frances C.
Frances C.3 years ago

I don't know Beth, I can't understand a word he says, or writes. Maybe his brain is as scrambled as his picture. Anyway I just pass over his, whatever.

Beth K.
.3 years ago

Fred K, you are the only one who thinks your little mispellings are clever. Most of us just think you're Illiterate .

Dominic C.
Dominic C.3 years ago

Why would the Justice Department want to prosecute Holder since they are the once who convinced him to take a respective decision? Bosses do not make decisions themselves, their directions and influences are motivated by a totality of circumstances. Of course, the GOP Congress and conservatives in Law Enforcement only have their priorities. This is a political agenda nothing rational at all. When the Abu Ghraib cases surfaced did any of the people in management and higher offices got impeached? Nada!

Frances C.
Frances C.3 years ago

Darrel Issa should be conducting a full scale investigation into the voter purging by the Republican party. That is a true threat to our democracy. It is Un American and unpatriotic. But that partisan hack won't because it is a Republicans doing it.