Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert is challenging the accuracy of another statement Attorney General Eric Holder made to him during a congressional hearing while under oath — a statement very similar to one withdrawn this week.
Holder’s Department of Justice has already withdrawn two admittedly false statements made to Congress about Operation Fast and Furious. In December 2011, the DOJ withdrew a Feb. 4, 2011, letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley in which Holder’s DOJ denied that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or the DOJ ever allowed guns to walk.
Holder’s DOJ withdrew a second statement this week — one Holder himself made during a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: “An attorney general who I suppose you would hold in higher regard was briefed on these kinds of tactics in an operation called Wide Receiver and did nothing to stop them — nothing,” Holder told Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn during that hearing. “Three hundred guns, at least, walked in that instance.”
The DOJ has withdrawn that statement because it’s admittedly false, though Holder has not apologized to former Attorney General Michael Mukasey — the George W. Bush administration official Holder had alleged was briefed on gunwalking tactics — though Grassley has made numerous requests for him to do so.
On Thursday afternoon, The Washington Times’ Kerry Picket reported that Gohmert pointed out how Holder made a similar false accusation against Mukasey during a June 7 House Judiciary Committee hearing.
“Did you ever go back to your office and say —-when you found out about Fast and Furious — ‘I demand to know who authorized this?’” Gohmert asked Holder at that hearing. “Are things so fast and loose in your office that somebody can authorize the sale to international criminals of American guns that are bringing about the death of even American agents, and no one has to do that in writing?”
“What I did do, I asked the inspector general to conduct an investigation. I put an end to the policy that led to the Fast and Furious debacle,” Holder responded. “I made personnel changes at ATF and in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We made changes in the procedures there. And that is in stark contrast to what happened to my predecessor, Attorney General Mukasey, when he was briefed about the transmission of guns to Mexico and, as far as I can tell, did far less than what I did.”
As Gohmert pointed out, when Holder said, “And that is in stark contrast to what happened to my predecessor, Attorney General Mukasey, when he was briefed about the transmission of guns to Mexico,” he said exactly the same thing as the false statement he withdrew from Congress.
DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler would not answer when asked whether the DOJ plans to retract Holder’s statement to Gohmert.
In the retraction of Holder’s statement to Cornyn, the DOJ said the charge Holder made was “inadvertent.”
Gohmert, however, is challenging the DOJ’s characterization of that statement as “inadvertent.”
“Perhaps the attorney general should review the definition of the term ‘inadvertent’ and explain how comments made in two different locations five days apart could be ‘inadvertent’ rather than false,” Gohmert said in a statement.
It’s unclear if Holder or the DOJ will also retract the assertion that the already-retracted false statement was “inadvertent.” Schmaler wouldn’t answer when TheDC asked her if he will.