The next shoe to drop in the case of Operation Fast and Furious may not fall in federal court, where the House will attempt to force Attorney General Eric Holder to cough up documents under subpoena for almost a year now in a civil contempt case. It may come from inside the Department of Justice itself. Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) met with the DoJ’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who told them his report is almost finished:
“He said weeks and not months,” said Rep. Gowdy referring to the timeline IG Horowitz gave him and Chaffetz as to when the IG’s report on Fast and Furious will be released to Congress.
Horowitz’s report is expected to show how the controversial gun walking operation failed and who ultimately authorized decisions behind the program. Attorney General Eric Holder has already been held in contempt by the House for failing to comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena that required the Justice Department to supply Congress with thousands of documents relating to the Fast and Furious investigation.
Of course, no one is sure what the report will actually say. Presumably, an IG can access the documents that House Oversight chair Darrell Issa subpoenaed last October. If so, then we should know exactly how high up the decisions went on OF&F, and at the least, we could get an idea of how many people were involved in presenting false testimony to Congress last year.
On the other hand, if the IG couldn’t access those documents, then we’re pretty much at the status quo — but that’s not necessarily all bad. Gowdy told The Washington Times’ Kerry Picket that he has no idea what to expect from the report. Even if it’s inconclusive and incomplete, though, the completion of the IG investigation gives Holder and the Obama administration less cover to keep Oversight from accessing the internal DoJ documents. They can no longer complain that the House investigation is interfering with an ongoing DoJ probe. That will put some pressure on the court to take the executive privilege claim even less seriously than they might otherwise treat it.