The Washington Times - December 8, 2011, 04:56PM



Towards the end of the Fast and Furious hearings the House Judiciary Committee held on Thursday, aninsult match broke out between Congressman Darrell Issa, California Republican who is Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and Justice Department Attorney General Eric Holder. 

Rep. Issa asked AG Holder if he was aware that he would be held in contempt of Congress if Mr. Holder did not provide a constitutional exemption for holding back logs and other documentation Mr. Issa has been asking for.

“Are you aware that you are in fact, by doing so, in the fact that we already issued from the oversight committee a subpoenea, you are standing in contempt of Congress unless you have a valid reason that you express it,” Issa said.  “That you provide logs which you have refused to have provide for the other information. Otherwise, you leave the committee no choice but to seek contempt for your failure to deliver or to cite a Constitutional exemption.”

Holder responded, “We will respond in a way that is consistent with the way in which the Justice Department has always responded to those kinds of…”

Issa interrupted saying, “That’s not the question Mr. Attorney General.”

When order was restored by Chairman Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, Holder continued, ”…will respond in a way that other Attorneys General have…other justices have…”

At this point things became particularly intense between Mr. Issa and Mr. Holder. Issa reached back to a Watergate era reference comparing AG Holder to President Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell, who was sentenced to 19 months in prison due to his involvement with the Watergate scandal. 

“John Mitchell responded that way too,” said Rep. Issa to Holder. 

Holder asked Chairman Smith if the John Mitchell reference “was called for.” Holder then proceeded to compare Congressman Issa to the late Senator Joseph McCarthy, the politician famous for heading up the 1950’s hearings that sought to investigate communist infiltration in the U.S. government.  

“The reference to John Mitchell. Let’s think about that,” said AG Holder. “Think about that. At some point, you know as they said at the McCarthy hearings, ‘Have you no shame?’”