House Holds Eric Holder in Contempt
The House of Representatives is currently in the midst of a partisan debate on a resolution to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding certain documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation. A vote on the criminal contempt resolution began after 4 p.m. this afternoon.
Led by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, 108 Democrats skipped the vote, storming out of the chamber in protest.
The measure passed 255-67, with one member voting "present." Seventeen of the Democrats who didn't walk out voted with the Republican majority to hold Holder in contempt of Congress. Two Republicans, Reps. Steven LaTourette of Ohio and Scott Rigell of Virginia, opposed the resolution.
The vote marks the first time in the history of Congress that it has found a sitting U.S. attorney general in contempt of Congress.
What happens to Holder next? If Congress wants to impeach him, ABC's Matt Negrin reported last week, it will have to go through the Justice Department, which holder leads.
The Justice Department isn't compelled to prosecute the attorney general, according to a Reagan-era memo from the Office of Legal Counsel. Peter Shane, an expert of executive privilege at Ohio State, noted that this could lead to a standoff between Congress and the agency.
Later, the House will vote on a second civil contempt resolution, which authorizes the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to initiate or intervene in judicial proceedings to enforce its subpoena.