Washington – The Justice Department declared Friday that Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to withhold information about a bungled gun-tracking operation from Congress does not constitute a crime and he won’t be prosecuted for contempt of Congress.
The House voted Thursday to find Holder in criminal and civil contempt for refusing to turn over the documents. President Barack Obama invoked his executive privilege authority and ordered Holder not to turn over materials about executive branch deliberations and internal recommendations.
In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, the department said that it will not bring the congressional contempt citation against Holder to a federal grand jury and that it will take no other action to prosecute the attorney general. Dated Thursday, the letter was released Friday.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the decision is in line with long-standing Justice Department practice across administrations of both political parties.
Storms knock out power to millions
Washington – A wave of violent storms sweeping through the mid-Atlantic following a day of record-setting heat in Washington, D.C., knocked out power to nearly 2 million people Friday.
The storms converged Friday night on Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency after more than 500,000 customers in 27 counties were left without electricity.
The National Weather Service said that just before 3 p.m., it was 104 degrees at Washington Reagan National Airport. That beats the record of 101 set in 1934. Triple-digit temperatures were expected to linger this weekend.
Karger ends bid for presidency
Los Angeles – Fred Karger, the openly gay Republican who ran for president without ever expecting to win, ended his quixotic campaign Friday.
“It’s been one hell of a ride, and I want to thank the thousands of people across this country who volunteered, contributed, opened their homes, came to our events and cheered me on,” he said in an email to supporters.
Karger spent three decades in Republican politics, working for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and California Gov. George Deukmejian, as well as major firms like Philip Morris. He came out publicly as a gay man in 2006, after his parents died and he retired.
He told the Los Angeles Times in a 2011 profile that he never believed he could win, but hoped to take part in one debate, to offer an example for gay young people that they do not need to hide and can reach for their ambitions, including running for the highest office in the land.
In the end, he spent nearly $500,000 of his own money and traveled across the country but never made it on a debate stage or won a single delegate.