Two tough-talking Texas lawmakers issued blunt words of criticism to Attorney General Eric Holder this week, telling him in front of a Capitol Hill crowd that not only should he be held in contempt, but that he should be sitting in a jail cell.
The statements came in context of discussing just what Mr. Holder has allowed the Department of Justice to release in terms of documents on “Fast and Furious” — the gunrunning program that ultimately led to the death of border agent Brian Terry — and just what he hasn’t made public.
Republicans say Mr. Holder has refused to comply with several subpoenas issued from Congress for documents related to the operation and outright ignored a criminal contempt citation that members of the House issued against him months ago.
Mr. Holder’s view is that he has released all the pertinent documents, as requested, and complied with congressional investigators.
Addressing that point, Rep. Blake Farenthold said, The Daily Mail reported: “I’m committed to maintaining the constitutional balance of power and the authority that this legislative branch has, and I just don’t think it’s appropriate that Mr. Holder be here. If an American citizen had not complied with one of the Justice Department’s subpoenas, they would be in jail and not sitting here in front of me testifying.”
Mr. Farenthold then refused to ask Mr. Holder any questions, but instead turned the rest of his five minutes over to another congressman.
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Those brief remarks came on the heels of others, equally sharp, issued from fellow Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert who expressed frustration and anger at what he said was the Justice Department’s stonewalling.
Mr. Gohmert said, The Daily Mail reported: “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.”
In response, Mr. Holder said: “You don’t want to go there, buddy. You don’t want to go there, OK?”
Mr. Gohmert replied: “Sir, we’ve been trying to get to the bottom of ‘Fast and Furious,’ where people died, where at least a couple hundred Mexicans died. And we can’t get the information to get to the bottom of that, so I don’t need lectures from you about contempt because it is very difficult to deal with asking questions.”
Mr. Holder then said, “And I don’t need lectures from you, either,” The Daily Mail reported. He also said that he would “put my record up against any other attorney general,” the newspaper reported.