House Speaker John Boehner said today that his chamber will likely file a civil suit seeking more Justice Department documents on the "Fast and Furious" gun trafficking case.
"The American people have a right to know what happened," Boehner said on CBS' Face The Nation, adding that a suit could come over "the next several weeks."
The lawsuit would be spearheaded by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Cal., who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Attorney General Eric Holder, held in civil and criminal contempt of Congress on a House vote last week, has said his department has turned over thousands of documents, and that Issa and some Republicans are playing politics with the Fast and Furious incident.
Because of the contempt vote, "an unnecessary court conflict will ensue," Holder said recently. "My efforts to resolve this matter short of such a battle were rebuffed by Congressman Issa and his supporters."
At Holder's request, President Obama asserted executive privilege on the House's most recent document requests, setting up a potential legal battle.
Appearing this morning on CNN's State of the Union, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew said that "this is about a (House) committee that is on a path towards turning a review of policy into a political witch hunt."
The House is looking into "Fast and Furious," a failed gun trafficking operation that allowed hundreds of firearms to fall into the hands of violent drug cartel enforcers in Mexico. Two such weapons were found at the site of the murder of a U.S. border patrol agent.
In votes last week largely on party lines, the House held Holder in both criminal and civil contempt of Congress.
The Justice Department said Friday it would not prosecute Holder on the criminal contempt citation.
The civil contempt vote clears the way for a House lawsuit against the Obama administration.