The first in a series of Congressional hearings into the so-called "gunwalker" scandal is set for Monday, June 13th. The title: "Obstruction of Justice: Does the Justice Department Have to Respond to a Lawfully Issued and Valid Congressional Subpoena?"
As CBS News reported on April 1, the House Oversight Committeesubpoenaed documents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). House investigators say that instead of complying with the subpoena, the Justice Department (which oversees ATF) showed them a "handful of highly redacted documents" and provided additional documents already in the public record.
"They didn't comply with terms of the subpoena," says a House oversight staffer.
On Friday, 31 House Democrats sent a letter to President Obama saying "the Department of Justice has delayed action and withheld information from Congressional inquiries." The letter urges the President to "instruct the Department of Justice to promptly provide complete answers to all Congressional inquiries on this issue."
In response to requests for information from Congress, the Department of Justice has said that it has asked the Inspector General to investigate the allegations of "gunwalking," and that it doesn't want to interfere with that probe by giving certain documents to Congress.
The moment CBS broke this story, I called around. "How does this fit into the three-phase hearing schedule?" I asked. "Think of this as a 'pre-Gunwalker' hearing," one source said. "The Chairman (Issa) wants to get the law and past practice out there for everybody to see before he takes it and sticks it where the sun don't shine."
"'Where the sun don't shine?'" I asked.
"Yeah, right up Eric Holder's ass."