House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters that the actions against Holder are related to electoral politics and the Justice Department's effort to respond to allegations of voter suppression.
"I'm telling you, this is connected," Pelosi said.
Watch Pelosi's comments in the video to the left.
However, House Speaker John Boehner said the president's assertion of executive privilege over documents sought by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee smells of a cover-up.
"What is the Obama Administration hiding in fast and furious?" Boehner asked.
Republicans in Congress, led by chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Darrell Issa, R-Calif., have been investigation the botched gunwalking program that put guns in the hands of illicit gun purchasers as a way to track Mexican smuggling cartels. As a result of the program, hundreds of guns showed up in Mexico and a gun was found where U.S. border agent Brian Terry was killed.Continue »
President Obama's announcement that his administration has moved to allow up to 1.4 million children of illegal immigrants apply for work visas, meanwhile, has put Romney in a box. On Sunday, in an interview with CBS News' "Face the Nation," Romney would not be specific about whether he would reverse the president's action.
During a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Romney policy director Lanhee Chen said he "will have a few more things to say there about immigration" when he speaks to the annual conference of the nonpartisan National Association of Latino Elected Officials in Orlando on Thursday.
But there are indications that the economy, not immigration, is going to be Romney's main focus before the Latino audience. Speaking to reporters, Chen pivoted from questions about immigration to the economy, saying the economy has "really failed the Latino community," as The Hill reported.
Comments by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also suggest a focus on the economy. During an interview on Fox News' "Hannity" program on Monday, Rubio said that Hispanics care about more than immigration.
(CBS News) Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday called "unwarranted, unnecessary, and unprecedented" a vote by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to hold him in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious.
A year-and-a-half long investigation into the botched gun trafficking program culminated Wednesday with the committee's vote along party lines to pass a resolution holding the attorney general in contempt. The vote went forward despite intervention by President Obama, who invoked executive privilege, which protects the Justice Department from handing over documents, even though a subpoena has been issued.
For Holder to be held in contempt, the full House of Representatives must approve the committee's resolution. According to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., the vote will take place next week.
To date, Romney has not campaigned with Scott, and despite the importance of winning Florida, Scott's controversies, low poll numbers and even his "strangeness" has kept Romney out of sight of Scott.
Romney often relies on popular Republicans in key battleground states. During his "Every Town Counts" bus tour the past several days, several Republicans appeared at his side, including Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
Tom Slade, the former co-chairman of Scott's campaign and former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, told Bloomberg News, "I'd give [Scott] a B for governing. I'd give him an A for strangeness."Continue »
Updated 12:05 p.m. ET
(CBS News) The showdown between the White House and key congressional Republicans over the administration's response to a controversial program that allowed guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels kicked into high gear Wednesday.
President Obama granted Attorney General Eric Holder executive privilege on the matter, while the head of the House panel overseeing government conduct moved forward with proceedings to hold the nation's top law enforcement official in contempt of Congress.
By asserting executive privilege, the Justice Department can withhold documents from Congress, even if Congress has issued a subpoena, as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has.
In a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa, R.-Cal., head of the Oversight Committee, Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote, "Although we are deeply disappointed that the Committee appears intent on proceeding with a contempt vote, the Department remains willing to work with the Committee to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues."
At issue is documents over Operation Fast and Furious, an Arizona gunwalking program that put guns in the hands of illicit gun purchasers as a way to track Mexican smuggling cartels. As a result of the program, hundreds of guns showed up in Mexico and one was found at where a U.S. border agent was killed. Issa and his counterpart in the Senate, Charles Grassley, R-Iowa., opened an investigation into the case more than a year ago.Continue »
Updated 10:01 p.m. ET
(CBS News) A meeting between the head of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Attorney General Eric Holder to work out an agreement over documents pertaining to the Fast and Furious case has ended without an agreement being reached. As a result, Rep. Issa has not postponed or cancelled a contempt vote of the attorney general.
Issa told reporters after the meeting, "If we receive no documents, we'll go forward. If we receive documents we will evaluate them."
In a letter to Issa sent later Tuesday evening, Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote, "We regret that the Committee rejected our proposal. Our offer would have provided the Committee with unprecedented access to these documents, many of which are not covered by the Committee's subpoenas in this matter."
Issa and Holder met in an attempt to end a stalemate between Republicans in Congress and the Obama administration over documents pertaining to the Fast and Furious case, the Arizona gunwalking program that put guns in the hands of illicit gun purchasers as a way to track Mexican smuggling cartels. As a result of the program, hundreds of guns showed up in Mexico and one was found at where a U.S. border agent was killed. Issa and his counterpart in the Senate, Charles Grassley, R-Iowa., opened an investigation into the case more than a year ago.
"We're not looking to hold people responsible. We're looking for document production," Issa said.Continue »
Paul's communications director Jesse Benton told Hotsheet that the Texas congressman's public event will "celebrate our delegates" and feature "Liberty minded Republican speakers."
Paul will attend the convention with an army of loyal delegates. Although Paul has stopped campaigning, he continues to rack up delegates in states around the country. Most recently, he won a majority of delegates in Iowa. He also won a majority of delegates in Nevada and Maine - all states he did not win during the caucuses or elections.
The Paul campaign is urging order and respect at the convention, instead of disrupting proceedings to ensure Paul receives sufficient recognition.Continue »
Voter advocacy groups plan to file a lawsuit as early as Tuesday challenging Florida's effort to clean the voter rolls of non-citizens. The coalition said their suit is more expansive than the Department of Justice suit and could impact other states' potential efforts to clear voting lists.
The Advancement Project is one of four groups alleging the state of Florida is violating section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race and language. The groups say this lawsuit goes beyond the Department of Justice's lawsuit which challenges Florida's actions because it is taking place within 90 days of an election - a move Justice says is prohibited in the National Voter Registration Act. The latest suit, instead, says Florida's actions are illegal because of discrimination, regardless of how close or far an election is.
"This takes purging to a systematic level that is previously unseen," Penda Hair, co-director of the Advancement Project, said of Florida's efforts.
Hair said her suit, which is to be filed in the 7th Circuit Court in Miami, is based on the large number of Hispanic and African Americans impacted by the voter purge. The suit says 58 percent of people on Florida's list are Latino and 14 percent are African American.Continue »
The New York Times reported that two people overheard Bloomberg saying he believed Romney would probably be better at running the country than Mr. Obama.
However, the Times said the people within earshot of the mayor said he could not support Romney because he disagreed with him on so many social issues, including on abortion and guns. One guest added that Bloomberg then said he planned to remain neutral this year.
The mayor's office declined to comment on the report.
The oft-outspoken mayor has publicly stayed mum on his preference this presidential election. But Bloomberg's conversation was overhead while he was attending a recent charity event a nonprofit associated with the mayor called the Fund to Advance New York City.Continue »
With Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on stage flanking the Republicans' presumptive presidential nominee, Romney said he will win in November.
"We're going to win Wisconsin. We're going to get the White House," Romney said.
Ryan reminded the audience of the rightward tilt the state has experienced in the past two years and that a vote for Romney would continue the trend.
"This election really is a choice. And it is a choice of two futures and you know what? In Wisconsin, in 2010, we elected leaders to get our state back. To attack our problems and fix the mess in Madison and get us back on track," Ryan said. "And about two weeks ago, we did the same thing by re-electing those same leaders to get us back on track."Continue »
(CBS News) Mitt Romney's "Every Town Counts" bus tour stops in Janesville, Wisc., Monday because, as he told CBS News' Bob Schieffer on Sunday, it's simple: it is one of the states he plans to win in November. Thanks to the current political climate and a Republican power trio there, the Badger State, which has voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every presidential election since 1984, is showing a glimmer of hope for Romney's campaign.
Gov Scott Walker, R-Wisc., who successfully passed pension-cutting legislation and a measure limiting collective bargaining rights for some public sector workers, is considered the hero of the right and is praised for having strong convictions and willing to fight despite possible political ramifications.
There is "intense personal loyalty to Walker here," Wisconsin Republican Party vice chair Brian Schimming told Hotsheet.
Walker survived an expensive and bitter recall election in June, expanding his support by receiving 205,000 more votes than he garnered in his election in 2010.
"Walker expanding his lead this June shows that Republicans are still winning the argument," Marquette University law professor Charles Franklin said.
Since his recall victory, Walker offered some words of warning for Romney. He has said repeatedly that Romney must propose "bold" ideas to capture Wisconsin - and the presidency.
Schimming noted that the recall election allowed Republicans to organize early and often. He said the Republican Party opened 25 offices statewide last November, a full 6 or 7 months earlier than a typical presidential election year. He said volunteers have made 4 million calls and knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors, all possibly beneficial to Mitt Romney in November.
Franklin, who is director of the Marquette Law School polling unit, said the recall shows Republicans are seeing a surge of enthusiasm.Continue »
(CBS News) At the Faith and Freedom Conference, a gathering of religious conservatives in Washington, D.C., media personality Glenn Beck attempted on Friday to displace fears that Christian conservatives might have about supporting a Mormon for president.
Beck, who is a member of the LDS church, did not specifically mention presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, but said it is absurd that "we can't stand together because you don't go to my church and I don't go to your church."
Evangelical Christians have had reservations about Romney's faith and his wobbly policies on abortion. Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council recently discussed his tepid support of Romney, telling Hotsheet, "I've got to feel comfortable with him."
Beck said Christians must put their differences aside and unite "on the things we can unite on."Continue »
Updated 4:20 p.m. ET
(CBS News) During President Obama's event in the White House Rose Garden on the administration's new immigration rules regarding children of undocumented immigrants, a reporter interrupted the president mid-sentence with the question, "Is it the right thing to do for American workers?"
Interrupting the president is considered a violation of decorum and is rarely done. The reporter, Neil Munro of the conservative website The Daily Caller, said after the event he was asking questions "because you guys weren't."
The president immediately responded to Munro saying, "It's not time for questions, sir. Not while I am speaking."
ent continued with his remarks, saying the new immigration policy is "the right thing to do."
At the end of his statement, a testy Obama addressed Munro, saying, "The answer to your question sir - the next time I prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question - is that this is the right thing to do for the American people."
(CBS News) A new report by the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington reveals that members of Congress, who either retired or weren't re-elected, maintained their campaign accounts, disbursing much of it to other members in the form of campaign contributions.
The report looked into campaign contributions of 57 House members of the 110th Congress who did not return in 2009. Of the nearly $10 million in their campaign accounts, $3 million was used for campaign contributions.
CREW found that former lawmakers who became lobbyists donated 28 percent more to politicians than the former members of Congress who did not. Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, was the largest recipient of his former colleague's money, receiving $110,000.
Meanwhile, non-lobbyist former lawmakers contributed 400 percent more of their money to charity.
Former members are using their campaign war chests "to further their lobbying career," Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, told Hotsheet. "There shouldn't be another advantage of being a member of Congress," including making campaign contributions "with other people's money," Sloan said.Continue »
Updated 4:40 p.m. ET
(CBS News) In the key battleground state of Ohio, President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney made competing remarks just minutes apart on the number issue of the campaign: The economy.
Mr. Obama, speaking in the Democratic stronghold of Cleveland, and Romney, speaking in heavily Republican Cincinnati, outlined their visions of the economy but also attempted to define their opponent as being harmful to the recovery.
At Cuyahoga Community College, the president said, "If they win the election, the agenda will be simple and straight forward." He said Romney and a Republican Congress would reduce the government "to a few basic functions," cut regulations and cut taxes, which he said would be harmful to the national deficit.
The president said Romney wants to take "us back" to economic polices of President George W. Bush's administration.
"We were told that huge tax cuts, especially for the wealthiest Americans, would lead to faster job growth, we were told that fewer regulations, especially for big financial institutions and corporations, would bring about widespread prosperity. We were told that it was ok to put two wars on the nation's credit card, that tax cuts would create enough growth to pay for themselves. That's what were told."
"So how did this economic theory work out?" the president asked the crowd. "Mr. Romney is qualified to deliver on that plan."Continue »