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Tempers flared this week over the vote when Mr. Holder testified before the HouseJudiciary Committee.

“Sir, I’ve read you what your department promised, and it is inadequate, and I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important that we have proper oversight,” Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican.

Mr. Holder, leaning back in his seat, then advised Mr. Gohmert: “You don’t want to go there, buddy. You don’t want to go there, okay?”

“You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me,” Mr. Holder said as he pointed his finger at the congressman. “I think that it was inappropriate. I think it was unjust, but never think that that was not a big deal to me. Don’t ever think that.”

The exchange continued with both Mr. Holder and Mr. Gohmert saying to each other that they “don’t need lectures” from the other.