Possible Hatch primary opponent calls for Holder’s resignation

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

Utah Republican state Sen. Dan Liljenquist told The Daily Caller he thinks Attorney General Eric Holder should resign over Operation Fast and Furious, and he is demanding that U.S. Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch — who he may run a primary campaign against in 2012 — step up to the plate and call for Holder’s resignation too.

“My premise is, if [Holder] knew about this program or authorized it and he didn’t tell the truth about it, absolutely, he should resign,” Liljenquist said in an interview with TheDC. “And, that’s my understanding, from what I know, apparently, that’s what happened. When things are being hidden from Congress, from the American people in that way, that’s a breach of the public trust.”

As for Hatch, Liljenquist said he would “expect” him to step up and demand Holder’s resignation. “I would expect that,” Liljenquist said. “If you have an Attorney General lying to Congress and if that’s indeed what happened, then certainly every member of Congress should be incensed by that and be asking for that resignation.”

“We’ve had 40,000 people killed in Northern Mexico in the last few years. It’s a full-on warzone,” Liljenquist continued. “For me, I look at it and think border security is critical. I don’t think people along the border or even in our southern states feel safe – and it’s just amazing to me that we thought it was good policy to pump automatic weapons and assault rifles and other things into their [Mexican drug cartels’] hands as if we could track them somehow.”

When contacted by TheDC, Hatch wouldn’t call for Holder’s resignation.

“Senator Hatch has been appalled by how the Department of Justice conducted its Fast and Furious program and its refusal to take full responsibility,” Hatch’s spokesman said. “Working with his colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he has called for Attorney General Holder to say what he knew and when he knew it and continues to demand more answers.”

There are currently 52 congressmen demanding Holder’s immediate resignation, as well as three Republican presidential candidates. Minnesota Rep. Michele BachmannTexas Gov. Rick Perry and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman have each called for Holder’s resignation. According to The Hill, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal thinks Holder should resign too.

No U.S. senators have called for Holder’s resignation, and TheDC is waiting for responses from many of them. A spokeswoman for Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who’s leading the congressional investigation into Fast and Furious with House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, told TheDC that he thinks “Holder should resign if there is evidence that he knew the details of Fast and Furious.”

“Beyond that, Senator Grassley would like to see the resignation of the highest ranking official who knew of the details/approved the program,” his spokeswoman added.

In an email to TheDC, Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn wouldn’t call for Holder’s resignation either, saying he instead plans to continue pushing Holder for more information. A spokeswoman said the reason Cornyn won’t call for Holder’s resignation yet is because he thinks the American people deserve answers about the program.

“The Attorney General has taken every opportunity to sidestep and stonewall, and until he reassures Texans that gun-walking never occurred in our state I will continue to press him for answers,” Cornyn told TheDC.

By saying “our state,” meaning Texas, Cornyn is referring to several different potential gun-walking instances in the Lone Star state. One involved the gun store Carter’s Country, others may have involved transporting weapons through the state.

Follow Matthew on Twitter