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Justice Department seeks dismissal of 'Fast and Furious' lawsuit

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appears in an undated file photo.
October 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Justice Department wants a lawsuit dropped in the failed gun-trafficking investigation known as "Operation Fast and Furious."

In court papers filed Monday night, the department sought dismissal of the lawsuit, which was put forth by a Republican-led House committee. The lawsuit demands that Attorney General Eric Holder produce records about the probe into Operation Fast and Furious.

In addition, the court filing says the Constitution does not permit the courts to resolve political disputes between the executive branch and Congress.

Allowing the House lawsuit to go forward would undoubtedly trigger other suits, the Justice Department said in its filing.

"Countless other suits by Congress are sure to follow, given the volume of document requests issued by the dozens of congressional committees that perform oversight functions. This case thus illustrates vividly why the judiciary must defer to the time-tested political process for resolution of such disputes," the filing read.

In a statement Tuesday, House committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the Justice Department is using arguments that were previously rejected by the federal judiciary during the George W. Bush administration.

The House committee wants Attorney General Eric Holder's office to hand over internal documents concerning the probe, but the administration refused to give them up on the basis of executive privilege. Executive privilege is designed to protect certain internal administration communications from being revealed. In turn, the House has asked the court to reject the assertion of executive privilege, which was invoked by President Barack Obama.

Failure to strike a deal on the documents led to votes in June that held Holder in civil and criminal contempt of Congress.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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