WASHINGTON -- House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa said Sunday that he has no evidence the White House was involved in what could be a Justice Department "cover-up" to contain fallout from the botched "Fast and Furious" operation.
In a series of interviews on Sunday television shows, the California Republican repeatedly accused Justice Department officials of lying to Congress about the gun-trafficking sting operation and withholding documents from congressional investigators.
But Issa acknowledged that his committee has seen no evidence the White House was involved.
"And I hope that they don't get involved," Issa said on "Fox News Sunday." "I hope that this stays at Justice, and I hope that Justice cooperates because, ultimately, Justice lied to the American people on Feb. 4, and they didn't make it right for 10 months."
Issa's committee voted last week to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, sending the matter to the full House for a vote expected this week. The vote quickly escalated the standoff with the administration over documents related to the now-defunct program in which agents allowed guns to be moved across the border with the hope of tracking them to Mexican cartels. Many weapons were lost and two were found at the scene in the killing of a U.S. border agent.
Republicans in Congress contend that the Justice Department has withheld documents that reveal how top officials responded to early
President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege on Thursday to withhold the documents, saying they are related to internal and confidential deliberations. The White House cast Issa's investigation as an election-year political witch hunt.
On ABC's "This Week," Issa called the administration's claim of privilege "over-broad or simply wrong." The committee is preparing a response to the administration in a letter that he said would probably be sent Sunday or Monday.