CBS News reports that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will issue a subpoena for Eric Holder to produce in their entirety a series of documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious. The subpoena could come as early as today, and push a simmering conflict between the House and the Obama administration onto center stage:
CBS News has learned a congressional subpoena directed to Attorney General Eric Holder could go out as early as Tuesday, ordering him to turn over documents to lawmakers about when he was aware of a controversial gun smuggling operation known as Fast and Furious.
CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports the the subpoena will come from the House Oversight Committee, led by Republican Darrell Issa. It will ask for communications among senior Justice Department officials related to Fast and Furious and “gunwalking.”
The subpoena will list those officials, says Attkisson – more than a dozen of them – by name.
The best part of this story might be the reporter who wrote it. Sharyl Attkisson got verbally attacked by spokespeople at the White House and Department of Justice for her work on the Fast & Furious story for not being “reasonable” like the Washington Post and the New York Times, which haven’t exactly dedicated too much effort into exposing the deadly consequences of the operation. The LA Times also got a mention as “reasonable,” according to Attkisson, which is unfair, since Richard Serrano has been doing excellent work at the LAT on the story as well.
The subpoena will be an unmistakable escalation between Issa and the Obama administration, but the blame for that falls directly onto Holder’s narrow shoulders. Instead of cooperating with Issa’s probe, Holder sent a letter last Friday practically daring Issa to subpoena the documents and his aides. Issa returned fire yesterday with a detailed broadside listing all of the mischaracterizations and misrepresentations given by Holder and the DoJ, ending with the admonition that Holder “own[s] Fast and Furious” no matter how much he tries to duck the consequences. After that exchange, it became clear that Holder wouldn’t voluntarily comply with the House’s investigation, and that a subpoena was inevitable.
Will the Obama administration fight the subpoena? They’d be better advised to rid themselves of the albatross of Eric Holder, but that hasn’t been their style despite a series of blunders and political machinations by the Attorney General. A fight over a legitimate subpoena — especially in a case where one Border Patrol agent has been killed and perhaps hundreds of Mexicans with weapons trafficked by the ATF — will attract plenty of media attention, even without the hamhanded attempt to intimidate Attkisson from reporting on the story. That will overshadow Obama’s jobs push, and perhaps lead to even more disturbing revelations as to just how high this scandal goes. The smart move would be to dump Holder and give the House what it wants, but this administration has been short on smart moves throughout the F&F scandal.