Reporting Information On The Congressional Oversight Committee And The Senate Judiciary Committee Investigations On The Obama Administrations Corruption Within The Bureau Of Alcohol Tobacco And Firearms And The U.S.Department Of Justice
Attorney General Eric Holder answers questions while testifying before
the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill June 12, 2012 in
Washington, DC. Holder faced questions from senators about the ongoing
Operation Fast and Furious investigation, his decision to ordered two
federal prosecutors to begin criminal investigations into a series of
national security leaks to the news media and other subjects. (Photo by
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Facing a possible contempt charge and Republican calls for his
resignation, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signaled to Congress
Tuesday a new desire to cooperate with an investigation into the Fast
and Furious gun walking operation to avert what he believes could become
a "constitutional crisis."
Holder, who was made his ninth appearance before Congress, indicated
that he wants to stave off an embarrassing contempt vote against him.
Still, by Tuesday Holder was fielding calls for his resignation from
Republican senators with a growing list of gripes, including Holder's
reluctance to turn over documents about Fast and Furious, his decision
to allow his own deputies to investigate possible White House leaks of
sensitive national security information, and his efforts to prevent
Florida from purging illegal immigrants and dead voters from the state's
"In short, you've violated the public trust, in my view, by failing
and refusing to perform the duties of your office," said Sen. Jon
Cornyn, R-Texas, who called on Holder to resign during a Senate
Judiciary Committee hearing. That call came a day after a House
committee scheduled a June 20 vote on contempt of Congress charges
Republican lawmakers are demanding tens of thousands of documents
related to Fast and Furious, a botched gun-tracking program under which
hundreds of U.S. guns were sold in Mexico. U.S. agents intended to
follow the guns to leaders of Mexican drug cartels. But one of those
guns was used to kill Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2010.
Holder maintains that his office has cooperated with Congress. Any
documents that were withheld were kept back because the Justice
Department itself is investigating Fast and Furious, he said. But on
Tuesday Holder opened the door to a compromise, telling Senate
Republicans he needs only a "willing partner" to strike a deal.
"I want to make it very clear that I am offering to sit down, by
myself, with the speaker, the chairman, with you, whoever, to try to
work our way through this in an attempt to avoid a constitutional crisis
and come up with ways, creative ways perhaps, in which we can make this
material available," Holder told the Senate committee.
Lawmakers accuse Holder of stonewalling on their requests for
documents that date back to October. The information Holder has
provided, Republicans said, is material they have already seen or so
heavily redacted that it's useless to their efforts to determine when
top Justice Department officials learned about Fast and Furious, how
they responded and how they treated the whistleblowers who reported its
Sources inside the Justice Department leaked information to a House
committee last week showing that high-level Justice officials knew about
the problematic gun program but allowed it to continue.
Holder called Cornyn's criticism of his tenure "breathtaking in its inaccuracy," and said he will not resign.
"I heard the White House press officer say yesterday that the
president has absolute confidence in me," Holder told Cornyn. "I don't
have any reason to believe that that, in fact, is not the case."
Democrats, meanwhile, say the Republican charges against Holder are
politically motivated and an attempt to embarrass President Obama.