The Justice Department has turned over about 7,600 documents related to the Fast and Furious program but withheld several thousand others. News outlets reported that, in a meeting between Holder and committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., on Tuesday, Holder offered to turn over many of the documents the committee sought. However, Issa said Holder put unreasonable conditions on his offer. Minutes before Wednesday’s hearing, members received a letter from the Justice Department alerting them that President Obama was invoking executive privilege to keep the documents private. Issa, however, said the new information wasn’t enough to postpone a contempt-of-Congress vote.
Tierney alleges that Issa changed the nature and scope of the document request and didn’t give the Justice Department proper time to respond or fulfill the document new request before going forward with the contempt vote.
“If you watched the hearing yesterday, Democrat after Democrat said of course we want the documents,” Tierney said. “But when you go to the attorney general at five o’clock in the afternoon and say, ‘OK, give them to me now’ — and these are partially new requests — he needs time to put his staff on it and come back.”
Tisei cited a 2002 hearing on George W. Bush’s executive order that limited access to documents and certain records of former presidents as an example of Tierney’s double standard. During that hearing, Tierney blasted the Bush administration about its proclivity to withhold documents “useful for the democratic process.”
“Tierney clearly employed political theater against the previous administration but decried it in the current situation with DOJ,” Tisei said.
Tierney said the comparison is ridiculous.
“Richard Tisei has no clue what he’s talking about, doesn’t remotely know either situation,” Tierney said. “In all instances, when the president isn’t entitled to executive privilege, the Congress should get the documents. Accommodations need to be made, but I have always been insistent that the documents should be produced.
“I disagree with him on how to get to the bottom of the mis-truths that have come from DOJ in this horrible situation,” Tisei said. “Cover-ups are unnecessary and unbecoming in this day and age. They’re also wrong.”