Just hours after it was reported that the House Oversight Committee will hold a vote next week on whether contempt charges will be brought against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded during a briefing, criticizing Republicans for playing "politics."
Carney also said President Obama has "absolute confidence" in the attorney general. The press secretary then praised Holder's department for giving "substantial cooperation" to investigators, including 7,600 documents and hours of testimony.
Asked by Fox News' Ed Henry for the White House's "view" on the contempt charges, Carney started (seemingly sarcastically), "The White House view...."
The response got a good laugh from other reporters in attendance at the White House briefing.
Carney then hastily rattled off a pre-prepared answer:
"As you know Ed: Fighting criminal activity along the southwest border including the illegal trafficking of guns to Mexico remains a priority of this administration. The attorney general has also made clear that he takes the allegations that have been raised very seriously and that is why he asked the inspector general to investigate the matter."
"I can only refer you to the Republican House Judiciary member who recently conceded, uh, that this investigation is quote, 'politics,'" Carney said, not identifying the congressman he was referring to.
The latest round of rumored contempt charges against Holder are the result of the attorney general's failure to provide documents relating to operation Fast and Furious requested under subpoena on Oct. 12, 2011, lawmakers say.