Attorney General Eric Holder was back in front of lawmakers yesterday, and for the first time ever displayed a crack in the battlements of his arrogance.
In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, when questioned by Sen. Grassley about the release of an e-mail Holder responded, “Well, the tradition has always been by members of the Justice Department whether led by Republicans or Democrats to withhold deliberative material, but in spite of that, I want to make it very clear that I am offering to sit down by myself, I am offering to sit down with the Chairman, with the speaker, with you, whoever to work our way through this in attempt to avoid a constitutional crisis and come up with ways, creative ways perhaps, in which we can make this material available, but I’ve got to have a willing partner. I extended my hand and I’m waiting to hear back.”
Prior to the very real threat of an affirmative vote to hold him in contempt of congress, Mr. Holder has been steadfast in his refusal to even discuss the possibility of releasing any documents created after February 4th 2011 that relate to Fast and Furious.
Later in the hearing Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) dressed down Attorney General Holder in a blistering call for his resignation. “Let me talk about your record, you misled congress in February 2011 and claimed that their never had been a gun walking program and then had to retract that in November of 2011. You misled representative Issa in May 2011 saying you did not learn about the Fast and Furious program until the spring of 2011 and then you had to admit to senator Grassley that you learned about those tactics in January of 2011. You claimed in a press conference in September 2011 you had no knowledge of the Fast and Furious gun walking program, while it is clear your inner circle your high level department of justice employees received briefings and memos on Fast and Furious gun walking including Lanny Breuer, Department AG Grindler and others in early 2010. You claimed that the Fast and Furious wire tap applications did not detail gun walking tactics. I’ve read them senator Sessions has read them and senator Grassley obviously has read them, yet they do raise plenty of details to raise a red flag about this tactic. You have defied lawful and legitimate oversight responsibilities of the House of Representatives and of the Senate. You’ve ah resisted producing documents. You have produced about 7600 documents out of a pool of at least 80000 documents that would be responsive and you have failed to respond to my letter of August of 2011 where I asked you about gun walking tactics that occurred in my state. So 16 months after Fast and Furious was has been uncovered and Brian Terry lost his life in the service to his country at the hands of a drug cartel member who shot him using a weapon that was allowed to walk under this program, there has been zero accountability at the Department of Justice. You won’t appoint a special prosecutor in the face of a potential conflict of interest. You won’t tell the truth about what you know and when you knew it on Fast and Furious. You won’t cooperate with a legitimate congressional investigation. You won’t answer my questions about gun walking in Texas. You won’t take any responsibility for the failures of your inner circle and you won’t acknowledge what your top aids knowingly misled congress about over eight months and your won’t hold anyone accountable. So Mr. Attorney General, I’m afraid we have come to an impasse. The leaking of classified information represents a major threat to our national security and your office faces a clear conflict of interest, yet you won’t appoint a special counsel. You won’t support a truly independent investigation and you won’t take the threat seriously. Meanwhile you still resist coming clean about what you knew and when you knew it with regard to operation Fast and Furious. You won’t cooperate with a legitimate congressional investigation and you won’t hold anyone, including yourself accountable. Your department blocks States from implementing attempts to combat voter fraud. In short you’ve violated the public trust in my view by failing and refusing to perform the duties of your office. So, Mr. Attorney General it is with more sorrow than with regret and anger that I would say you leave me with no alternative but to join those that call on you to resign your office. Americans deserve an attorney general that will be honest with them, they deserve an attorney general who will uphold the basic standards of political independence and accountability. You’ve proven time and time again, sadly, that you’re unwilling to do so.”
Holder responded by calling Cornyn’s list of allegations “almost breathtaking in its inaccuracy” and said: “I don’t have any intention of resigning.”
So while his resolve has perhaps softened a bit in the face of contempt charges, Eric Holder remains unwavering in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, that his powers exceed those of our elected representatives.