In a groundbreaking vote, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt of Congress. It is the first time in history such a vote has occurred.
According to a live CNN report broadcast around 4:30 p.m. EDT, in a vote of 255-67, the Republican majority House Thursday afternoon claimed victory in something they were angling at for days. Some Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, The Congressional Black Caucas, The Hispanic, Asian Pacific American and the Progressive Caucases walked out in a dramatic show of protest at this ruling.
All 67 opposed to the contempt were reportedly Democrats while the 255 yeas included 17 Democrats along with the remaining Republicans. This criminal contempt vote will be followed by another civil contempt vote which will allow them to go before a court to force the Justice Department to hand over the requested Fast and Furious documents.
An American border patrol officer, Brian Terry, was killed by one of the hundreds of guns authorized to be used in the undercover stint and lost by the Justice Department. The president then exercised his executive power to bar Republicans from getting their hands on the requested documents.
This twofold fight against Holder is not only seen as politically motivated but as racially charged as well. Members of the Congressional Black Caucas and black leaders like A Sharpton have accused the dogged investigation by Republicans as going this far because Holder is African American.
During the press conference, Democrats accused the National Rifle Association of controlling this persecution of Holder. The contempt vote ostensibly resulted from the attorney general's refusal to hand over all of the Fast and Furious documents. Rep. Jackie Speier (D) had this to say about the vote, "Fast and foolish--fast and fake." Former Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi added her disapproval with these words, "Just when you thought they couldn't go any further over the edge, they did--it's stunning."
Many call the contempt vote a "witch hunt" politically motivated by Republicans to score points and do damage during this election year. AG Holder is expected to hold a press conference shortly.
This historic vote comes hours after another historic ruling gave Democrats the victory dance. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Affordable Healthcare Act and many say this contempt ruling was political theater by the Republicans and their way of diluting the White House win, embarrasing Holder, while inflicting damage to the president politically.
Stay tuned as this developing story unfolds.
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