Newt Gingrich attacks Obama over executive order, comparing it to Watergate

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Led by Republican Chairman Darrell Issa (Calif.), the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed a resolution along party lines to place Holder in contempt after fighting him for months over access to internal agency documents about the Fast and Furious operation. Hours before, Obama sent a letter to the committee claiming executive privilege over the documents Issa had sought to uncover.

"Part of what’s involved here is American guns ending up killing an American law enforcement officer having been processed by the Justice Department to the Mexican drug cartels. This is a really serious charge," said Gingrich, who made a failed campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. "A number of Mexicans were killed by these guns. Now it turns out the whole thing was a sting that went bad. Somebody should have known about it. It makes you wonder, what are they trying to hide?"

The former Speaker of the House went on to say Holder had plenty of chances to avoid scandal at the cost of embarrassment and even his resignation.

"They had an opportunity to come clean, get it over with, let the country decide — they would have been embarrassed," he said. "It’s even conceivable Holder might have had to resign because the thing was run so badly, but now it’s going to become a major scandal in which the president himself is getting drug into it. That’s exactly backwards.

"The job of a Cabinet officer is to protect the president. It’s never the president’s job to protect the Cabinet officer. I think Obama has this one backwards."