The White House said today that despite the contempt order passed by the House of Representatives, Attorney General Eric Holder for justice will not be subject to criminal prosecution arising from the legislative vote.
It is an established principle that dates from the administration of President Ronald Reagan that the Department of Justice does not seek indictments arising from cases of contempt when the president has invoked executive privilege,” said spokesman Jay Carney.
His statement came less than 24 hours after the Republican majority, supported by some Democrats, passed a resolution to declare in contempt of attorney to Holder for his alleged failure to cooperate in the investigation of the operation “Fast and Furious“.
Carney said that U.S. President Barack Obama has used this executive protection to not broadcast over internal documents, as demanded by Republicans, “so, if you do so, the issue of contempt questionable.”
Therefore, the White House spokesman reiterated the stance of the Obama administration in the sense that the vote of 255 in favor and 67 against “was purely political.”
He said this notion was confirmed by the refusal of Republicans to accept the offers of the White House and Justice Department to seek a negotiated settlement before the vote.
“They made the strategic decision to seek a way to make a political maneuver, but I do not expect to be effective, because I think most Americans are tired of political games in Washington,” he said.
Carney made the announcement to reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Colorado, where President Obama on Friday toured areas affected by forest fires.
This White House cut short the process that was expected to Holder after the adoption of the resolution, which did not require going to the Senate and would be turned over directly to the Office of the District of Columbia, headed by Ronald Machen Jr., which depends directly Holder.
Under U.S. law, the prosecutor must convene a grand jury to determine whether there was a criminal violation in this case of deliberate obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation of “Fast and Furious”.
The potential penalty includes a jail sentence of one month to no more than 12 months.