Politics
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Monday, April 4, 2011, where he announced plans to try avowed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged henchmen before a military commission.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Monday, April 4, 2011, where he announced plans to try avowed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged henchmen before a military commission. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)  

Congressional calls for Holder’s resignation more than double to 17

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Nine more members of Congress have told The Daily Caller that they’re calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over his handling of Operation Fast and Furious, more than doubling the number on record before the weekend calling for his ouster. A total of 17 members of Congress have now called for Holder to step down.

The latest group of members includes Republican Reps. Dan Burton of Indiana, Allen West of Florida, Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, Trent Franks of Arizona, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Duncan Hunter of California, Devin Nunes of California and Dennis Ross of Florida.

Burton, who once chaired the House oversight committee that is currently investigating the Justice Department over Operation Fast and Furious, said he has always opposed Holder and didn’t believe he should be confirmed as attorney general in the first place, based on his record of deceiving Congress.

“I think he’s been a mistake from the very beginning,” Burton told TheDC in a phone interview.

“When I was chairman of government reform and oversight during the Clinton administration, we had Holder before my committee a number of times and he misled the committee. In fact, he lied. During his confirmation in the Senate, I sent a letter to the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, [Sen. Patrick] Leahy, and I sent it to the other members of the committee as well, and I cited specific cases where Holder had not been straight with the committee and I said he should not be confirmed.”

It also appears Holder misled Congress on May 3 when he told the House Judiciary Committee that he had known of Operation Fast and Furious for only a few weeks. Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley told TheDC he personally handed Holder a letter on the topic while the attorney general was in his office months earlier. Senior aides sent Holder numerous briefing memos on the subject, including the name and intimate details of the failed operation, as early as July 2010.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both discussed the operation in media interviews about a month before Holder claims he knew of it. Republican Reps. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina and Jason Chaffetz of Utah have asked Obama to clarify how he was able to speak about Operation Fast and Furious in a media interview while Holder was apparently, at least according to his claims, unaware of the operation.

Burton said Holder’s blatant disregard for the ongoing congressional investigation and the appearance that he lied under oath means he needs to resign now.

“I don’t think he’s a trustworthy attorney general,” he said. “He’s a political animal. He’s more concerned about politics than he is about what’s right for the country.”

Burton conceded, however, that Holder’s fate likely ultimately rests with the president.

“I think [whether Holder should remain in office] is a decision that will ultimately have to be made by the president,” Burton said. “We in Congress can, on a regular basis, contact the White House and tell the president that he is not right for the job.”