Nearly four years after the House found then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to turn over "Fast and Furious" documents, the White House has backed off its claim of executive privilege and delivered a set of papers to the House Oversight Committee.
A committee aide notes the administration was facing a midnight deadline to produce thousands of pages. A federal judge rejected the president's executive privilege claim in January and gave the White House 60 days to comply with her order.
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The aide told CBS that committee staff are just now reviewing the papers, and the aide wasn't in position to characterize what's in them. But the aide suggested the court order demanding their production by midnight was narrow, and that more documents may still be sought by the committee.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, who led the Fast and Furious investigation when he served as head of the Oversight Committee, released a statement noting that the administration has not yet fully complied with congressional subpoenas.
"I am pleased to learn that the House of Representatives is continuing to prosecute the legal case against the President's claim of executive privilege until all documents related to the Fast and Furious investigation have been delivered," he said. Furthermore, he added, "What we need from the President is an explanation of why he felt these documents couldn't been seen by the American people and why there has been no real accountability for the officials involved. Was he protecting the failed gun-walking operation or the cover-up?"
Politico, which initially broke this story, quotes a Justice Department letter citing the administration's "interest in moving past this litigation and building upon our cooperative working relationship with the Committee."
Holder was held in contempt of Congress in June of 2012, more than a year after Republicans complained the Justice Department was being unresponsive to their investigation into the gun-running scheme.