AG Lynch Has Not Decided Whether to Turn Over Fast and Furious Documents

By Susan Jones | January 21, 2016 | 7:01am EST
Attorney General Loretta Lynch arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, to testify before the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies subcommittee hearing on gun control. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

(CNSNews.com) - U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Wednesday she has received a federal court ruling that says the Justice Department may not invoke executive privilege to withhold documents from a congressional committee investigating the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal.

But that doesn't mean the Justice Department will now give those subpoenaed documents to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Sen. Jim Lankford (R-Okla.), who previously served on the House Oversight Committee, noted that the court told Lynch's office to turn over those documents by February 2nd.

"I need clarification," Lankford said. "Will all those documents now be released to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee by February the 2nd, as per the judge's order?"

"Well, thank you for the question, Senator," Lynch responded. "We did receive that ruling yesterday. We are still reviewing that ruling. I am aware of that provision in it. We, of course, want to study it carefully and determine what appropriate steps to take and the timeliness of them.

"But I can certainly assure you that we will be either responding to the committee or to the court at the appropriate time."

"So you are not saying yes or no, whether those documents will be turned over in time?," Lankford asked her.

"We have not made that decision...if we will pursue any additional legal action," Lynch responded. "We have not made that decision. If we had, I would let you know. And since we have not, I am not able to give you that information at this time."

Lankford asked Lynch if she knows when she'll make a decision.

"We will let you know certainly within the timeframe -- period you just mentioned (Feb. 2)," she said.

The Justice Department could appeal the ruling by U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson Berman, an Obama appointee.

The House Oversight and Government Reform committee voted in June 2012 to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to provide more than 100,000 subpoenaed documents pertaining to the botched gun-sting investigation known as Fast and Furious.

As part of that Justice Department program, law enforcement knowingly allowed about 2,000 U.S. guns to flow to Mexican drug cartels, with the intent of tracking the weapons and making arrests. However, law enforcement lost track of most of the weapons. The program was halted in December 2010 after two of the weapons were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Fox News reported this week that one of the Fast and Furious guns was just found at the hideout of Mexican drug kingpin known as El Chapo.

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