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United States Attorney General Eric Holder appears before the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies subcommittee, on Capitol Hill in Washington April 4, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron United States Attorney General Eric Holder appears before the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies subcommittee, on Capitol Hill in Washington April 4, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron  

Holder on Gohmert exchange: ‘What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?’

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Chuck Ross
Reporter

Eric Holder ventured off script in a speech Wednesday to the National Action Network, the organization led by MSNBC host and recently-exposed FBI informant Al Sharpton.

“I’m pleased to note that the last five years have been defined by significant strides and by lasting reforms,” said Holder at the conference of black activists, before improvising “even in the face, even in the face, of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly, and divisive adversity.”

“If you don’t believe that, if you look at the way, forget about me, forget about me, if you look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House Committee, it had nothing to do with me, forget that, what attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”

Holder’s remarks — not contained in the text of the speech published at the website for the Department of Justice — were in reference to a terse exchange he had Tuesday with Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert in a House Judiciary Committee hearing about documents related to a terror trial. (RELATED: Eric Holder explodes at GOP rep: ‘You don’t want to go there buddy!’)

“I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important that we have proper oversight,” Gohmert said. He was referring to the House of Representatives holding Holder in contempt of Congress in 2012 for refusing to release documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal.

“You don’t want to go there, buddy! You don’t want to go there, okay,” said an angry Holder.

“I don’t want to go there?” Gohmert responded.

“You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me,” Holder said.

Holder was speaking to the annual convention as he has done since 2011. Sharpton’s conference deals with a host of issues related to civil rights, including justice system reform and gun control.

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