House GOP Not Backing Off Fast & Furious Lawsuit Despite Media Claims
House Republicans are standing strong in their pursuit of Operation Fast and Furious documents, The Hill’s Jordy Yager reports, undercutting a narrative the Department of Justice has tried to seep into the media.
President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over the documents minutes before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted Attorney General Eric Holder into both civil and criminal contempt of Congress last summer. The full House followed up voting on a bipartisan basis to hold Holder in contempt shortly thereafter, spurning the current lawsuit against the administration for the documents. The DOJ has declined to pursue criminal charges against Holder.
“A fight over President Obama’s use of executive privilege on the documents that led to Attorney General Eric Holder’s contempt charges is increasingly likely to be decided in court,” Yager wrote on Tuesday. “The way the court decides could drastically limit congressional subpoena powers — or curb the extent to which the president can claim executive privilege.”
Members of the mainstream media, including Politico’s Josh Gerstein and Reuters’ David Ingram, have tried to foster a narrative that House Republicans would fold and settle the lawsuit. “Lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department and for congressional Republicans told a federal judge on Tuesday they were in talks to settle a suit stemming from Operation Fast and Furious, a botched probe into gun trafficking to Mexican drug cartels,” Ingram wrote in November, adding that such a settlement would “bring a quiet end to a political furor that stirred the passions of gun owners, ended some Justice Department careers and led Republicans to find U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt.”
In a late January story, Gerstein similarly tried to argue Republicans were seeking to settle the lawsuit. “A deal may be near in the Operation-Fast-and-Furious-related dispute that led the House of Representatives to cite Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt last year,” Gerstein wrote on January 29.
Yager notes in his Tuesday article that the discussions between the two sides are “court-ordered mediations,” something those working for House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa say are “almost certain to be fruitless.”
Ultimately, though, Yager said wrote that “it is up to the U.S. District Court of D.C. to decide whether the president was right to assert executive privilege or whether Issa’s subpoena should be honored.”
This DOJ has a penchant for pushing such false narratives into the public sphere. Now former Holder spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler resigned her position at DOJ; she was caught colluding with far-left-wing advocacy organization Media Matters for America to smear whistleblowers, members of Congress and people in the conservative media and mainstream media who covered Holder scandals.
When asked whether she had a hand in pushing those stories inaccurately alluding that House Republicans were backing down on the Holder contempt lawsuit, Schmaler would not answer. “Just to be clear -- you're asking if I have talked to reporters covering an issue about the Department of Justice?” she said in an email to Breitbart News, and refused to answer yes or no.