As Attorney General Eric Holder testified before Congress yesterday, two things were reinforced. One: Holder has a problem telling the truth. Two: Congressmen Darrell Issa (R-CA), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and Ted Poe (R-TX), have a problem with people who have a problem telling the truth. And they have a point. As a matter of fact, as I watched the hearings unfold I continually thought to myself: “If Bill Clinton had obstructed justice to this degree, even Senator Trent Lott would have manned up and removed him from office.”
To believe you weren’t aware of Fast and Furious requires, to coin a phrase, a willing suspension of disbelief. It is hard for me to believe you were unaware of this operation. [So] my question is very simple, who is the person in the U.S. government that made the decision in Operation Fast and Furious to send guns to Mexico?
Although such a straightforward question seems simple enough, Holder’s answer was “we don’t know yet.”
How can the A.G. not know who started an operation that resulted in the sale of 2,500 weapons to straw purchasers–some of which were paid for with U.S. taxpayer money, the passing of those weapons to criminals, the smuggling of those weapons across the border, the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry with at least two of those weapons, and the death of hundreds of Mexican citizens? (I bet Holder could tell you who authorized the raid on the Gibson Guitar factory with no problem.)
Anyway, Issa was relentless all day long. And during the late afternoon, he pressed Holder to release all the documents which had subpoenaed but not released. Holder gave a sloppy answer to this question: a combination of “yes” and “we’ll see.” In response to such non-clarity, Issa compared Holder to John Mitchell, Nixon’s Watergate A.G.
Holder replied by asking, “Have you no shame?” And Issa countered with, “Have YOU no shame?”
This is a teachable moment folks: Holder has grown so accustomed to the success of his own hypocrisy that he took offense to being called out on the carpet. He took offense to being compared to Mitchell when the truth is, Mitchell’s family should be offended that one of their own was compared to Holder.
At another point, when Holder defended his handling of the matter by saying the DOJ had provided an “unprecedented” amount of information to Congress already, Issa went into smackdown mode: “Unprecedented would be an attorney general who knew nothing about something where his own present chief of staff was intimately familiar.” (Issa’s comments were referencing Gary Grindler, Holder’s current chief of staff who, as an Acting Deputy Attorney General attended a briefing on Fast and Furious in March 2010.)
As for Sensenbrenner, he came across as a Congressman determined to get to the bottom of this mess. It was he who warned that Holder could face impeachment if he didn’t come clean.
With all respect to Sensenbrenner, I think we’re past impeachment. It’s jail time. Holder does not deserve to be in the society of free people.