White House won’t say if attorney general should resign for ‘lack of oversight,’ as Obama advocated in 2007
Spokespeople for President Barack Obama have refused to answer a series of questions from The Daily Caller about whether the president thinks criticisms he made about former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales also apply to Attorney General Eric Holder.
In 2007 Obama called for Gonzales’ resignation during an appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live and said he believed it’s the Attorney General’s responsibility to constrain the power of the president.
In addition to politically-motivated firings of U.S. Attorneys, Obama said Gonzales needed to resign because of a “lack of oversight” during one particular law enforcement program.
“You’ve got a situation in terms of the FBI where the procedures used for issuing national security letters seemed to have been completely sloppy and based on erroneous fact — there doesn’t seem to be any oversight there,” Obama said.
During that FBI scandal, it was alleged that investigators had misused “national security letters.” National security letters are administration documents that allow certain government officials to obtain information without probable cause or judicial oversight.
White House senior communications staffer Eric Schultz refused comment when TheDC asked if Obama thought calls for Holder’s resignation over Operation Fast and Furious are warranted, given Obama’s call for Gonzales’ resignation over a “lack of oversight.” (RELATED: Holder lashes out at Daily Caller while refusing to address growing calls for his resignation [AUDIO])
Obama also criticized Gonzales’ loyalty to President George W. Bush. “What you get a sense of is an Attorney General who saw himself as an enabler of the administration as opposed to somebody who was actually trying to look out for the American people’s interests,” Obama said of Gonzales.
When TheDC asked if Obama thinks Holder’s continued refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa makes Holder an “enabler,” Schultz also wouldn’t comment.
Holder has withheld 11 of 12 subpoenaed witnesses and won’t provide subpoenaed documents and communications relating to the drafting a February 4, 2011 Justice Department letter to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. That letter contained statements Holder and his Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, the head of the DOJ’s criminal division, have admitted were false and inaccurate.
During his call for Gonzales to resign, Obama added that Gonzales “seemed to be a capable attorney” but wasn’t acting as the “people’s attorney.”
When TheDC asked if Holder’s actions during the Fast and Furious congressional investigation, and the “lack of oversight” of a program that claimed the lives of at least 300 people in Mexico and Border Patrol agent Brian Terry counted as acting as the “people’s attorney” in Obama’s mind, Schultz refused to comment as well.
There are currently 52 congressmen, three presidential candidates and two sitting governors demanding Holder’s immediate resignation — and, on Tuesday, Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson became the first U.S. senator to call for Holder’s immediate resignation.
Obama isn’t defending Holder, nor are congressional Democrats. In a Tuesday afternoon outburst at the White House, Holder accused TheDC of being “behind” calls for his resignation. “Stop this,” he said.