Holder says contempt vote wasn't about documents, it was about Obama

The House committee that asked Attorney General Eric Holder for documents concerning the gun-walking operation, "Fast and Furious," voted to hold Holder in contempt of Congress. Nancy Cordes reports.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

(CBS News) Attorney General Eric Holder granted his first interview since being held in contempt of Congress last week and suggested the vote was more about the Justice Department's policies on hot button issues than it was about the "Fast and Furious" scandal.

"I've become a symbol of what they don't like about the positions this Justice Department has taken," Holder told The Washington Post in an interview Monday.

"I am also a proxy for the president in an election year. You have to be exceedingly naive to think that vote was about...documents."

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., led the investigation into the "Fast and Furious" scandal, where the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives let 2,000 guns "walk" away with hopes of tracing them to high up Mexican drug cartels. The sting operation was considered by many to be a failure, especially after two of the guns were found near the body of a dead Border Patrol agent.

Complete coverage of Fast and Furious

Issa demanded that Holder hand over Justice Department documents on the operation, but Holder refused. The vote occurred last Thursday, and made Holder the first sitting member of a president's cabinet to be held in contempt.

Related: White House: Holder won't be prosecuted for contempt

"It's a sad indication of where Washington has come, where policy differences almost necessarily become questions of integrity," Holder told the Post.

Despite Holder's claims, Issa told the Post that Holder "can say over and over that this is all about him, but that isn't true."

All of this being said, Holder said he has no plans to step down.

"If anything, it made me more determined to stay and to continue to fight for the things that I think are important," Holder said.