The White House went on the offensive Wednesday ahead of a potentially monumental day for the Obama administration, when the House casts a contempt of Congress vote against President Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, and the Supreme Court issues its verdict on the constitutionality of the president’s health care law.
White House spokesman Jay Carney sternly warned the Republican-led House against making Holder the first attorney general in U.S. history to be declared in contempt of Congress, calling it “preposterous” and “wholly unnecessary.”
“This is not why Americans across the country go to the ballot box every other November to elect members of the House,” he said. “They don’t do it so that the House, and Congress in general, engages in political gamesmanship and theater and launches fishing expeditions.”
The House vote is a reaction to Holder’s refusal to turn over to lawmakers all of the Justice Department documents they demanded on the botched gun-tracking operation known as Fast and Furious. And it comes despite President Obama’s efforts to shield Holder by invoking executive privilege over the documents.
Republicans questioned how much the Justice Department — and the White House — knew about the operation, which allowed U.S. guns to be moved into Mexico in hopes of tracking them to drug traffickers. But the operation backfired when at least one of those guns was used to kill a U.S. Border Patrol agent in 2010.
The White House on Wednesday against denied any involvement in the program and says the administration has been “extremely cooperative” with the congressional investigation, providing the House with “thousands of pages of documents.”
“Everyone knows the president did not know about this tactic until he heard about it through the media; the attorney general did not know about it,” Carney said. He added that Obama has “absolute confidence” in Holder.
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