A contempt of Congress citation targeting Attorney General Eric Holder, which was released on Thursday, details exactly what Operation Fast and Furious-related information he has refused to provide to Congress.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa subpoenaed 22 categories worth of information about Fast and Furious from Holder on Oct. 12, 2011. According to Issa’s contempt of Congress citation draft, he hasn’t provided any documents for 13 out of the 22 categories. In a briefing paper accompanying the Holder contempt citation, Issa said that Holder hasn’t “completely fulfilled any of the 10 categories for which documents have been produced.”
The first listed subpoena category that Holder has not provided any documents on — or denied the existence of any such documents — is one where Issa demanded all communications “between and among Department of Justice (DOJ) employees and Executive Office of the President employees, including but not limited to Associate Communications Director Eric Schultz, referring or relating to Operation Fast and Furious or any other firearms trafficking cases.”
Schultz is the White House communications staffer who “screamed” at CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson for her reporting on Fast and Furious. “The DOJ woman was just yelling at me,” Attkisson said in a radio appearance in early October 2011. “The guy from the White House on Friday night literally screamed at me and cussed at me. Eric Schultz — oh, the person screaming was Tracy Schmaler. She was yelling, not screaming. And the person who screamed at me was Eric Schultz at the White House.”
The second subpoena category Issa said that Holder has completely defied relates to “communications between DOJ employees and Executive Office of the President employees referring or relating to the president’s March 22, 2011, interview with Jorge Ramos of Univision.”
According to the draft contempt citation regarding this category, the DOJ “represented that it would ‘check on communications with WH Press Office in the time period preceding the president’s 3/22/11 interview,’ and that it had identified the most likely custodians of those documents” but has not provided them to Congress. The contempt citation draft also states that the DOJ has not denied the existence of any such documents. (RELATED: Full coverage of Operation Fast and Furious)
In that interview, President Barack Obama decried Fast and Furious: “There may be a situation here which a serious mistake was made, and if that’s the case then we’ll find out and we’ll hold somebody accountable,” Obama told Ramos. Obama also said during that interview that neither he nor Holder approved Fast and Furious.
South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy and Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz later questioned inconsistencies between Obama’s interview and Holder’s May 3, 2011 House Judiciary Committee testimony. In October 2011, they asked the president to explain how he could factually state that Holder didn’t approve Fast and Furious in March 2011, while Holder had stated in congressional testimony, under oath on May 3, 2011, that he had only learned of Fast and Furious a “few weeks” earlier.
The third listed subpoena category regarded the requirement that the DOJ produce “all documents and communications referring or relating to the murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata.”
The contempt for Holder citation said that the DOJ has not provided any documents and doesn’t deny the existence of documents.
Zapata’s family has publicly stated that they feel like they’ve been “kept in the dark” on developments in the case of their son’s murder. In February 2012, for instance, it was reported in the press that prosecutors had sentenced a second person in relation to Zapata’s murder, but officials never told Zapata’s parents.
The fourth subpoena category that Holder hasn’t provided any documents for is the “Reports of Investigation (ROIs) related to Operation Fast and Furious” or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives case number “785115-10-0004 [the official Fast and Furious case number].”
According to his contempt citation draft, Holder also hasn’t denied the existence of such documents.