“Are you asserting it only with regard to documents called for by the subpoena that may have involved communications with you? Or are you extending your claim to records of purely internal Justice Department communications, not involving the White House? Please provide a more detailed description of the documents that you are or are not asserting executive privilege to protect.”

After Obama made the executive privilege assertion Wednesday morning, in a last-minute attempt to stop the House panel's vote on contempt, Grassley issued a statement seriously questioning whether the move indicated that the president, or his direct staff, was in some way tied up in the Justice Department’s response to the botched gun-tracking operation, Fast and Furious.

House Speaker John Boehenr (R-Ohio) raised similar questions in a statement of his own.

The House Oversight panel voted along party lines Wednesday to place Holder in contempt of Congress, and BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRestoring fiscal sanity requires bipartisan courage GOP congressman slams primary rival for Ryan donations Speculation swirls about Kevin McCarthy’s future MORE announced that he would schedule a vote before the full House as soon as next week if the attorney general did not turn over the requested documents.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has battled Holder for months in an attempt to gain access to internal DOJ documents and e-mails that detail the steps the department took between issuing a letter to Grassley stating that it did not let guns “walk” into Mexico, and revoking that letter 10 months later as they stated it contained false information.