House Republicans voted Wednesday afternoon to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over the Justice Department’s refusal to hand over documents related to the failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation. The vote came after President Barack Obama supported the retention by invoking executive privilege.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted down party lines, with 23 in favor of the move. California Rep. Darrell Issa had previously threatened to place Holder in contempt for refusing to give up files pertaining to the operation.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said Obama’s action implies that White House officials may be trying to cover up something about the executive branch’s alleged involvement in the operation.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

The New York Times:

The documents in question involve discussions since February, 2011, long after the gun operation took place. During the operation, illegally purchased firearms were tracked as they were smuggled into Mexico. But law enforcement agencies lost track of some of the hundreds of weapons involved, and two guns linked to the program were found near a shootout in which a Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, was killed in December 2010.

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