Conyers even argued the future of the republic was on the line.
“Do you think constitutional government in the United States can survive if the president has the unilateral authority to reject Congressional inquiries?” he asked.
After the House held Miers and Bolten in contempt, the Judiciary Committee sued the two aides in federal district court.
In August 2008, a federal judge ordered Miers to testify and Bolten to turn over documents, overruling the administration’s claim of executive privilege. That ruling was appealed.
In March 2009, a year after the suit was filed, Miers and Karl Rove, who had also become ensnared in a separate contempt proceeding, agreed to testify behind closed doors to the House Judiciary Committee. The deal broke the stalemate.
Welch said the two situations were “wildly different” in that in the Fast and Furious probe, Republicans have not thoroughly investigated gun-walking during the Bush administration. Also, Issa’s subpoenas were far broader than necessary, Welch said.
In remarks at the contempt hearing, Welch said that there are “gettable” votes to hold Holder in contempt on the Democratic side of the aisle but that Issa’s investigation has turned some Democrats away because it is too partisan.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.