FLASH: Fast & Furious' Eric Holder to step down

Attorney General Eric Holder, who last year was held in contempt of Congress for refusing to provide documents regarding his Justice Department's Operation Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, will announce today that he is stepping down, according to Fox News.

From the article:

Attorney General Eric Holder plans to announce Thursday that he is resigning from the Obama administration, a Justice Department official confirmed to Fox News. The decision would cap a tumultuous six-year term for the nation's top law enforcement official.

Holder is one of the few Cabinet officials to have stayed on since the beginning of the Obama presidency. The Justice official said Holder has agreed to remain on the job until his successor is confirmed.

"[He] finalized those plans in an hour-long conversation with the president at the White House residence over Labor Day weekend," the official said. The official added that Holder has "no immediate plans" after leaving the post.

Holder, who previously worked in private practice and before that was federal prosecutor, was one of the most controversial members of the Obama administration.

The move comes as U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates has denied a request from the Department of Justice to delay the release of a list of Operation Fast and Furious documents being protected under President Obama's assertion of executive privilege.

From TownHall.com:

The list, better known as a Vaughn index, was requested through a June 2012 FOIA filing by government watchdog Judicial Watch. When DOJ didn't respond to the FOIA request in the time required by law, Judicial Watch sued in September 2012, seeking all documents DOJ and the White House are withholding from Congress under executive privilege claims. President Obama made the assertion on June 20, 2012 just moments before Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt. In July 2014, after two years of battling for information, Judge Bates ordered the Department of Justice to release the Vaughn Index by October 1. DOJ responded by asking for a month long delay in releasing the list with a deadline of November 3, just one day before the 2014-midterm elections. That request has been denied. A short delay was granted and DOJ must produce the Vaughn index by October 22.

"The government’s arguments for even more time are unconvincing," Bates said in his ruling. "[S]eventy-five days—plus another twenty-one, based in part on Judiciary Watch’s consent—is enough time for the government to prepare the index that this Court has ordered, given that this matter has been pending for over two years. The Court will therefore extend the Department’s Vaughn index submission deadline to October 22, 2014—and no further."

"The government argues that it must devote significant numbers of attorneys to this matter if it hopes to comply with the current Vaughn index deadline ... But the Department has known about its Vaughn index obligations since July 18, 2014 ... At best, it means the Department has been slow to react to this Court’s previous Order. At worst, it means the Department has ignored that Order until now," he added.

The House Oversight Committee is also suing for the release of the Vaughn index and earlier this month U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered DOJ to produce requested information to lawmakers by November 1.

In the Vaughn index, DOJ must explain why documents have been withheld from Congress and the American people under President Obama's assertion of executive privilege. The requirements for DOJ in handling the information included in the Vaughn index are as follows:

1) identify each document withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption.

“The Obama administration failed to game the courts and now will have to account for its Fast and Furious lies. Two federal courts have now rejected Eric Holder’s election-related ploy to keep this information from the American people,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement in reaction to the ruling. “This is a battle that put Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, saw Nixonian assertions of executive privilege by Barack Obama, and a hapless Congress in the face of all this lawlessness. This latest court ruling shows again that Judicial Watch’s independent investigations and lawsuits are more effective than Congress and the rest of media. We are pleased we may get some accountability for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of others who lost their lives as a result of Obama’s Fast and Furious program.”

In 1995, Eric Holder, then a U.S. attorney under President Clinton and now President Obama's Attorney General, appeared on CSPAN calling for a program in America's schools and U.S. media that would "brainwash" people against guns.

In 2008, Holder signed an amicus brief in the Heller case that supported the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, and also argued that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right.

In 2009, the newly-appointed Attorney General Holder immediately began attempts to draw a connection between drug crimes in Mexico with the American right to bear arms, and suggested that the Obama administration would seek to renew the failed Clinton Gun Ban, something Obama had denied during his 2008 campaign.

After claims by the Obama administration that 90% of Mexican crime guns came from the U.S. were debunked, Obama's Justice Department, headed by Holder, and BATFE began forcing gun dealers to let guns "walk" out the door in the hands of known criminals, who then smuggled them across the border where authorities failed to even attempt to track them. The program placed thousands of rifles and pistols into the hands of Mexican drug gangs, which emails confirmed was exactly what the administration intended, hoping enough violence would spill over into the United States so that the American people would call for gun sales restrictions, or at least provide the Obama administration with the information to impose such restriction. Guns were used, as mentioned above, in the death of American border patrol agent Brian Terry, as well as Mexican teenagers and even an assassination attempt against a high-ranking Mexican law enforcement official.

Holder and his subordinates' behavior during the investigation of the scandal was deplorable. When the scandal became public, Holder attempted to claim only recent knowledge of the operation, but it was later revealed that he knew about it much sooner. Whistle-blowers were threatened. More than 70,000 documents were withheld from Congress. At one point Holder even claimed that emails using the words ‘Fast and Furious’ weren't referring to Operation Fast and Furious. And so, on June 28, 2012, Holder was held in contempt of Congress - the first time a sitting member of a president's cabinet has been held in contempt of Congress.

According to the Washington Times, the contempt case against Holder will continue even after his resignation takes effect. The criminal offense of "contempt of Congress" sets the penalty at not less than one month nor more than twelve months in jail and a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

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