House Republicans today voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress—just the fourth government official to be so charged since 1975—over his refusal to turn over documents in the Fast and Furious probe.
Everyone agrees the program was ill-conceived. But as Rachel Maddow explained Wednesday night, in conservative circles, it's seen as more than that: a deliberate effort to gin up gun violence, in order to build support for a coming crackdown on gun rights. That outlandish conspiracy theory was hatched last year by extremist blogger Mike Vanderboegh, then taken up by Republican lawmakers including Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa. Today, Issa is leading the effort to hold Holder in contempt.
Former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert told Maddow that the hysteria over this non-existent assault on gun rights is purely political. It's an effort, Herbert said, to "undermine the legitimacy of Barack Obama, Eric Holder and ultimately the Democratic Party," Herbert said.