Attorney general picnics with lawmakers ahead of contempt vote

Holder was greeted warmly by both Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) during the event on the White House South Lawn, CBS News reported.

The House will vote Thursday on whether to place the attorney general in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena for documents surrounding the "Fast and Furious" gun-tracking program, despite last-ditch efforts to reach a deal.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who has led the charge against Holder, accused the Department of Justice Wednesday of a “cover-up” and likened the “Fast and Furious” scandal to the Watergate and Iran-Contra controversies.

President Obama, who asserted executive privilege over the subpoenaed documents last week, spoke during the picnic of the importance of serving the American people as elected officials despite political differences.

"We’re thrilled that you have at least one day where you got a chance to be together in Washington and nobody is arguing," Obama said. "That also just reminds me that for all the political differences that are sometimes expressed in this town, we are first and foremost Americans — not Democrats or Republicans.  And I think all of us want to make sure that during extraordinarily challenging times for this country that we constantly keep that in mind. That’s what the people who sent us here are expecting."