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Holder Says U.S. Congress Contempt Vote Is ‘Unwarranted’

A decision by a congressional committee to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt was “unwarranted, unnecessary and unprecedented,” he said.

The issue may still be resolved through negotiations before a scheduled vote in the full House next week, Holder said today, speaking to reporters in Copenhagen.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee yesterday made Holder the first Cabinet official held in contempt by a congressional panel in 14 years. House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the full House will vote next week on the matter.

The panel’s party-line contempt resolution is the latest escalation in a standoff that began last year over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun operation, which allowed illegally purchased firearms from the U.S. to wind up in Mexico.

“We put before the committee a proposal that would have allowed for a resolution of that matter, consistent with the way in which these have been resolved in the past,” Holder said. “The action that the committee took was unwarranted, unnecessary and unprecedented.”

Holder was in Copenhagen to meet with Morten Boedskov, the justice minister of Denmark, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. They were scheduled to discuss data protection, migratory policies and the fight against terrorism, according to a statement issued by the Danish government.

“The House has to consider now with the leadership what they will do and so we’ll see how it works out,” Holder said.

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