Today is D-Day (that’s D as in “deadline”) for Attorney General Eric Holder. It is the date by which he must turn over the bulk of outstanding Fast and Furious documents to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Failure to do so, GOP Rep. Darrell Issa has warned, will result in a contempt of Congress resolution that has more than enough Republican votes in the House to carry it.
In a last-ditch effort to stave off that vote, Holder’s friend and boss, the president, has granted the AG’s 11th-hour request for executive privilege over the 95% of unreleased classified documents relating to the failed operation. So far, Holder has turned over 8,000 of some 140,000 documents that shed light on the gun-walking case.
The decision by Obama to go to bat for Holder is interesting for several reasons. First, the move is unlikely to forestall a vote. Second, Obama currently has his own brewing scandal to deal with over alleged White House security leaks. Third, a recent Rasmussen poll finds that 40% of Americans think Holder should resign his post. Fourth, all of this is occurring five months out from the 2012 election.
If the contempt vote goes through today, the public spectacle that follows is certain to damage Obama’s image as well as Holder’s. Following a contempt citation, the AG will be arrested by the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House and brought to the floor of the chamber. There he will be held to answer charges by the presiding officer, Speaker John Boehner.