White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew on Sunday defended the president’s decision to exert executive privilege over documents related to the "Fast and Furious" operation, saying the administration had been the most open in history.
"This administration has been the most transparent ever,” Lew said on CNN’s "State of the Union."
He harshly criticized House Republicans for holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress last week.
"This is not about the facts; the facts are out there. This is about a committee that is on a path toward turning a review of policy into a political witch hunt,” Lew said.
The House cited Holder after the White House invoked executive privilege and refused to provide certain documents to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee over their probe of the Justice Department’s botched gun-tracking operation.
Holder is the first Cabinet member in history held in contempt of Congress.
"Fast and Furious" was an operation in which federal officials allowed guns to make it across the border to Mexican drug cartels. Holder initially provided incorrect information to Congress about the operation because he did not know about it, Lew said, but he then stopped "gun-walking" operations and corrected his responses to lawmakers.
The White House has invoked executive privilege to shield documents and said it has cooperated fully with the investigation.
"Every document related to the decisions up to that point has been shared," Lew said. "This is not a question of finding facts. Congress, at the beginning of this investigation, said they were going to use their investigatory powers in a political way.”