Holder squares off with GOP lawmaker over contempt controversy

WASHINGTON -- For over two hours, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and the House Judiciary Committee were getting along unusually well.

Even Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), Holder’s arch-nemesis in Congress, pursued a relatively tame line of questioning. And Holder, as counseled by his advisors, seemed to be trying to avoid confrontation.

But when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), while pressing Holder for some documents, made an apparently offhand comment concerning the vote in 2012 to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress, Holder bristled.

“You don’t want to go there,” Holder said, pointing his finger accusingly at Gohmert. “Don’t ever think that was not a big deal to me.”

He said the contempt citation, issued after he withheld documents that Republican lawmakers demanded as part of a probe into a flawed gunrunning operation, was “all about the gun lobby,” which pressed members to vote against Holder.

Gohmert also got upset, saying, “I don’t need lectures from you about contempt,” to which Holder responded, “I don’t need lectures from you either.”


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