An advance copy of Attorney General Eric Holder’s Tuesday testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, obtained by The Daily Caller, shows that he will not preemptively address several significant issues raised during the ongoing Operation Fast and Furious scandal.
Holder’s prepared testimony does not discuss his May 3 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, an appearance during which investigators say he either lied, intentionally misled Congress or exhibited outright incompetence when answering questions about when he first learned about the failed gun-walking program.
Two congressmen, House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, asked him the same question, and Holder answered the same way each time: He said he first learned of Operation Fast and Furious just a few weeks earlier.
Holder continues to claim Operation Fast and Furious was a “local” program run out of Phoenix, Ariz., despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Most recently, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, the head of the DOJ’s criminal division and Holder’s top deputy, confessed last week to at least some responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious.
“Today, I would like to correct some of the inaccurate — and irresponsible — accusations surrounding Fast and Furious,” Holder’s prepared testimony reads. “Some of the overheated rhetoric might lead you to believe that this local, Arizona-based operation was somehow the cause of the epidemic of gun violence in Mexico. In fact, Fast and Furious was a flawed response to, not the cause of, the flow of illegal guns from the United States into Mexico.”
In his testimony, Holder also advocates for new gun-control laws that he says would have halted, or at least prevented, Operation Fast and Furious. Holder echoes California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s comments from last week, when she argued that stricter gun laws would have stopped law enforcement agents from facilitating the sale of guns to Mexican drug cartels.
“Unfortunately, earlier this year the House of Representatives actually voted to keep law enforcement in the dark when individuals purchase multiple semi-automatic rifles and shotguns in Southwest border gun shops,” Holder’s written testimony declares. “Providing law enforcement with the tools to detect and disrupt illegal gun trafficking is entirely consistent with the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and it is critical to addressing the public safety crisis on the Southwest border.”
In the copy of Holder’s testimony obtained by The Daily Caller, he also attacks those in Congress who have been outspoken about the DOJ’s continued stonewalling of the congressional investigation.
“As someone who has seen the consequences of gun violence firsthand — and who has promised far too many grieving families that I would do everything in my power not only to seek justice on behalf of their loved ones, but also to prevent other families from experiencing similar tragedies — I am determined to ensure that our shared concerns about Operation Fast and Furious lead to more than headline-grabbing Washington ‘gotcha’ games and cynical political point scoring,” Holder says.
“We have serious problems to address — and sacred responsibilities to fulfill,” he adds. “We must not lose sight of what’s really at stake here: lives, futures, families and communities.”
Holder’s written testimony, which has yet to be publicly released, ends with a request. Holder asks Congress to “engage” in what he considers a “responsible dialogue.”
Senators on the Judiciary Committee, including Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, will likely grill Holder on the inconsistencies that have littered his correspondence with Congressional investigators throughout the investigation, including in his prepared testimony for Tuesday’s hearing.
Though the DOJ and the White House continue to ignore the rising tide of calls for Holder’s immediate resignation, Holder has likely noticed them. The last time he accused Congress of using vitriolic rhetoric was shortly after Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar told The Daily Caller that the Obama administration officials responsible for Operation Fast and Furious could be considered “accessories to murder.”
Holder cited Gosar’s remarks to TheDC in his first unsolicited communication with Congress about the investigation into Fast and Furious.
National Rifle Association president David Keene, who has also called for Holder’s resignation, told TheDC that he thinks Democrats in Congress who have not been critical of Holder’s role in the gunrunning operation are the ones playing politics.
At present, 36 members of Congress — all Republican members of the House — have called for Holder’s immediate resignation. There were 35 membersin that camp on Friday, but Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina told TheDC on Monday that he too thinks Holder should resign immediately.