National Rifle Association President David Keene told The Daily Caller on Thursday that he and the NRA think Attorney General Eric Holder should resign immediately. Keene joins 34 members of Congress calling for Holder’s immediate resignation.
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre had made a call for the nation’s top law enforcement official to step down over Fast and Furious as far back as April of this year. Keene told TheDC all the new evidence that continues coming shows Holder committed “perjury” before the House Judiciary Committee on May 3 and that the American people no longer trust him at attorney general.
“In fact, as long ago as April, Wayne LaPierre from the NRA, at our annual meeting, called for his resignation, based just on what we knew at that time about the Fast and Furious coverup,” Keene said in a phone interview. “Of course, at that point, we didn’t know nearly as much as we know now. But, even then, it was clear that this was not the kind of thing that could have originated and stayed in Phoenix with nobody in Washington knowing about it, which is what they [the Obama administration] initially claimed.”
“It was our view then, and it’s our view now, that the attorney general knew about it and has been trying to put roadblocks up or put defenses at every level – now they’ve got it up to the head of the criminal division [Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer] trying to take responsibility for it,” Keene continued. “But, this is ultimately the responsibility of the attorney general and we believe he ought to resign.”
Keene doesn’t think a resignation from Holder signals the end of investigations into Operation Fast and Furious, though. “I don’t think it can be the end of it, because there’s too much involved here,” he told TheDC. “A lot of what Sen. Grassley and Congressman Issa know hasn’t even yet come out. But, the fact is, at the very least, he should resign. Then whatever steps need to be taken, ought to be taken.”
Keene thinks the fact that no Democrats have called for Holder’s resignation shows they’re playing politics on the backs of Fast and Furious victims to protect Holder’s political future. “Oh of course they are,” Keene said. “That’s not unusual —this is a Democratic administration, he’s a Democratic attorney general. Democrats in Congress voted for his confirmation. If they think they can get it to go away, they will try to get it to go away.”
Compared to scandals in previous administrations, Keene thinks this one is much more damning. “This is not some minor government screw-up,” he said. “This is something that has resulted in an estimated 300 deaths in Mexico, the killing of a federal agent in the United States.”
Keene adds that the allegations of politically-based firing of attorneys that forced Alberto Gonzales out of office “are nothing compared to this.”
Keene, who worked in President Richard Nixon’s White House during the Watergate scandal, said he’s not sure yet if this scandal will be as big as, or bigger than, Watergate. “Well, I mean, you’ve got 300 deaths, a cabinet member perjuring himself, you’ve got denials all up and down the line that have been proven to be untrue,” Keene told TheDC. “I think it is potentially very big, but you don’t know, was Watergate as big as Watergate? We didn’t know that until the end, did we?”
Keene also said that the administration officials who think this scandal will disappear are sadly mistaken. “It’s not going to [go away],” Keene said. “That [hoping] is always what you do. I worked in the Nixon White House — you should have seen the people sitting around hoping it would go away. It didn’t do it.”