A GOP aide also warned against a racial backlash if Republicans are seen as unfairly targeting the first black attorney general, who is serving under the first black president. “Especially after Trayvon,” the aide said, referring to slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, who was black.
Meanwhile, groups sympathetic to Holder have begun pushing back against Issa’s move to bring his contempt resolution to the floor.
Earlier this week, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives wrote to House and Senate committees investigating Fast and Furious to “express our unwavering support of Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice, and their commitment to enhancing state and local law enforcement,” according to a copy of the letter.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole sent Issa a 15-page letter on Tuesday outlining the DOJ’s case against the contempt resolution, calling contempt an “extraordinary step that is inappropriate and unwarranted here.”
The letter argued that many of the documents that have not been disclosed to Issa involve ongoing criminal investigations and stressed the “extraordinary efforts” of the DOJ to respond to Issa’s document demands.
A key issue of dispute, Issa said Thursday, is internal emails and other documents from after the DOJ broadly denied that guns walked in a Feb. 4, 2011, letter to Senate Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
The letter was eventually rescinded by the DOJ, which admitted the denial was false.
Holder “said he would not give us information after Feb. 4., which is of course to say he won’t give us information on the cover-up. Not giving up information on the cover-up — it’s one of the areas that the deputy didn’t address” in the letter, Issa said.
The Cole letter briefly addressed those documents, saying “consistent with long-standing Executive Branch practice across administrations we have not produced all other internal communications we produced following the commencement of congressional review of this matter.”