Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking GOP Member Chuck Grassley said Tuesday evening that he wants “somebody’s scalp” over Operation Fast and Furious — and he stopped just short of joining his congressional colleagues demanding Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation.
“The only thing I want out of this is somebody’s scalp that approved this,” Grassley told Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren in a Tuesday evening interview. “They should have to get out of government and be held responsible because they led – their decisions led to the death of Terry. And then, secondly, we want to make sure that a stupid program like Fast and Furious never happens again.”
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday morning, Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn made waves by demanding Holder’s resignation to his face. He joins three of his Senate colleagues – Sens. Jim DeMint, Johnny Isakson and James Inhofe – and 129 House members in pushing for Holder to step down over the scandal. Presumptive GOP presidential nominee former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has also demanded Holder resign.
Van Susteren asked Grassley if he backs Cornyn’s call, and Grassley said he would have said yes if not for Holder’s offer to negotiate and provide Congress with some more documents.
“If you asked me a few hours ago I probably would have said yes,” Grassley said. “I am open to his so-called negotiation.”
That said, Grassley doesn’t think Holder should get much wiggle room.
“But I don’t like the fact that he is talking about a constitutional crisis, because he has created this constitutional crisis,” Grassley said. “And I think it’s a situation of where, he is waking up to the fact that there [are] people serious about getting this information one way or the other. And he should be held in contempt if he doesn’t give us this information because he’s taking contemptible action against the Congress.”
Grassley has led the investigation into Fast and Furious with House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa. Neither has joined the calls for Holder’s resignation over the scandal yet, but Issa came close ahead of Holder’s recent appearance before the House Judiciary Committee.
Grassley went on to say the reason why Holder appears willing to negotiate now is because “they are at the foot of the gallows, and they know that they might – the trap might be sprung.”
“If you are asking me why I would not call for resignation right now, I think I ought to keep as much credibility as I can to see what can be negotiated,” Grassley said. “But I have a very short leash on that. I am not willing to give very much. They have got to show within a week or two that they are willing to cough up the documents or, I say, go to contempt, and at that point, I would be willing to say ‘resign, because you haven’t negotiated in good faith.’”
Ultimately, Grassley said he thinks the Obama administration will try to stall on Fast and Furious until after the election in November “because I think there are things in this document that is going to make this administration look very bad at a time of reelections.”