Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison had harsh words for Attorney General Eric Holder when The Daily Caller caught up with her on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
Hutchison wouldn’t say whether she’s backing the surge in calls for Holder’s resignation, but did express frustration with Holder’s job performance as the head of the U.S. Department of Justice.
“There are serious questions about several of the programs that he is implementing — like Fast and Furious — and other areas where I don’t think he is making the right priorities in the administration,” Hutchison said when TheDC asked her if she backs those demanding Holder step down.” So, I think it’s a serious thing to call for a resignation, but I did not vote for his confirmation and I think that he was not equipped to handle the Justice Department.”
Hutchison is also upset with how Holder’s DOJ has handled the case surrounding the late Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens.
“There has to be — Fast and Furious was unspeakably bad — and I think that with the prosecutors from the Public Integrity Section still prosecuting even after the reports have come out about the abuse that they made against Ted Stevens,” Hutchison said. “It just shows that we’re not holding up to the standard of justice that the people of our country expect.”
Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions wouldn’t say whether he backs the surge in Congress demanding Holder’s resignation either, but he also had sharp criticisms for the attorney general. “There’s been, really, a growing disappointment in the attorney general’s leadership, frankly, and I’m sorry to see it happen,” Sessions told TheDC. “But, I do think they’ve taken quite a number of decisions that appear to be driven by politics rather than law. But I’ve made no announcement about [whether I think Holder should resign].”
Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut — an independent who caucuses with Democrats — even said he has some issues with how Holder has run the DOJ.
“The question is: ‘Does the president have confidence in him?’ He serves at the pleasure of the president,” Lieberman responded when TheDC asked him if he still had confidence in Holder. “So, I agree with some of the things Attorney General Holder has done, and I disagree with other things he’s done, but those are judgments for the president.” (RELATED: Full coverage of Eric Holder)
When TheDC pressed him on whether President Barack Obama needs to make that decision as to whether he has continued confidence in Holder anytime soon, though, Lieberman said, “No.”
Currently, 123 House Republicans have demanded Holder’s resignation, signed an official resolution of “no confidence” in him or both. Three U.S. senators, two sitting governors and all GOP presidential candidates join them. Many more lawmakers and other political figures have either called for Holder’s resignation or expressed disgust with his job performance as well.
By contrast, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid all came out last week expressing their continued confidence in Holder after Fast and Furious.
As a result of the ill-fated Operation Fast and Furious — during which the Obama administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in a program overseen by Holder’s Department of Justice, sent about 2,000 guns south to Mexican drug cartels — at least 300 Mexican citizens were murdered, as was Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Allegations have also surfaced that Fast and Furious weapons were used to murder Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata.
The Obama administration orchestrated these weapons sales via “straw purchasers” who bought guns in the United States with the intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else.