That leaves two courses of action, one of which is instructing the Sergeant at Arms to arrest Holder. Chaffetz refused to discount that option but implied that a civil lawsuit would be the preferred course before slapping the cuffs on Holder. The encouraging news is that House Speaker Boehner told Face the Nation that a civil suit is exactly what the House will be doing. It is good to see this just a few days after the contempt vote.
"We are also going to file in District Court a civil suit over the issue of executive privilege," Boehner told the CBS program "Face the Nation."First, while it is refreshing to see Boehner say this publicly so soon after the contempt vote, his doing so is likely more of a testament to the bulldogs on the Oversight Committee like Reps. Trey Gowdy, Jason Chaffetz, and Chairman Darrell Issa. That said, Boehner deserves some credit but he's someone who needs constant constituent supervision so don't take your eye off of him.
"I would expect that to be coming in the next several weeks, but it needs to happen," Boehner said.
The lawsuit could lead to a prolonged court fight while a judge weighs the House demand against the Obama administration's claim of executive privilege to protect the documents.
In a letter to Boehner on Friday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said Holder properly withheld the documents under executive privilege, which allows President Barack Obama to keep private documents on internal government discussions.
White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew on Sunday accused the House Republicans of carrying out "a political witch hunt." The timing of the planned lawsuit comes in the run-up to the November 6 election in which Republicans are trying to deny Obama a second term in office.
"What they're looking for now is internal kinds of documents that they know are not appropriate," Lew said on CNN's "State of the Union" program.
"The facts are that this was a bad plan, the Fast and Furious. It is something that started in the Bush administration. The attorney general did not know about it. ... And when the attorney general learned about it, what he did was stop it," Lew added.
As for Lew, his "political witch hunt" meme is pathetic. There is enough evidence in the public domain right now to have a grand jury - if our system worked this way - indict high ranking DOJ officials for conspiracy to commit murder by intentionally placing guns in the hands of bad guys whom they knew would kill innocent people - all in the name of gun control.
Lew's contention that this is all about election year politics is even more absurd. The congressional investigation into Fast and Furious started in January of 2011. On February 4, 2011 Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich signed a letter to Senator Charles Grassley that was demonstrably false. It led Congressional investigators on a wild goose chase until December of 2011, when the DOJ formally retracted the letter as being "inaccurate."
The reason this scandal is reaching a crescendo in an election year is the fault of the Justice Department that Lew claims is being victimized.