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UPDATE: The Justice Department said on Friday that they won't prosecute Attorney General Eric Holder after the House voted to hold him in contempt of Congress on Thursday.
As the Associated Press reports, the Justice Department explained in a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner that they won't take any action to prosecute the Attorney General, as the department doesn't believe Holder's witholding of information from Congress is a criminal act.
Holder is the first sitting cabinet member to be held in contempt by Congress. The Republican-led vote against Holder on Thursday originated from accusations that Holder has failed to cooperate with a House Oversight Committee investigation into the botched "Fast and Furious" gun-walking operation.
Thursday, June 28: House Republicans on Thursday followed through with their plans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress—but not before dozens of Democrats stormed out of the chamber in protest.
The final vote was 255-67, making Holder the first sitting Cabinet member to be held in contempt by Congress. In the end, 17 Democrats broke ranks with their party and sided with Republicans, who contend that Holder has failed to cooperate with their investigation into the botched "Fast and Furious" gun-walking operation.
The Democratic walkout was led by members of the Congressional Black Caucus. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who was among those who boycotted the vote, called it an "abuse of power" while speaking on the House floor.*
Pelosi and company say that John Boehner and his fellow Republicans are going after Holder for the Justice Department's involvement in another hot-button issue unpopular with the GOP: "The whole reason that they want him to resign is because he's looking into voter suppression," Pelosi said on Wednesday, referring to the Justice Department's lawsuits against some states for allegedly violating voter rights law.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have been locked in a standoff with Holder over which documents the administration will give to the panel for their investigation into the gun-walking scheme.
The Justice Department has repeatedly stressed that they've been responsive to committee chairman Darrell Issa's requests for documents related to the operation, withholding only those documents pertaining to ongoing criminal investigations. The committee voted to hold Holder in contempt hours after President Obama used executive privilege to override Issa's subpoena for some Justice Department documents.
*Correction June 28, 2012: Rep. Nancy Pelosi was mistakenly identified as the speaker of the House. She is the House minority Leader. (Return to the corrected sentence.)