Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that he thinks Attorney General Eric Holder should resign over Operation Fast and Furious. Inhofe is the second U.S. senator to call for Holder’s ouster.
Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson called for Holder’s resignation on Tuesday. In addition to Inhofe and Isakson, 52 House members, three presidential candidates and two sitting governors have called for Holder’s immediate resignation over the gun-walking scandal.
The pressure appears to have gotten to Holder. On Tuesday he lost control when TheDC asked what he thought of the surge in calls for his resignation.
“You guys need to — you need to stop this,” Holder said at a White House event. “It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening. You guys are behind it.”
Subsequently, the White House refused to comment when TheDC asked if President Barack Obama plans to hold Holder to the same standard he applied to former attorney general Alberto Gonzales when Obama, then a U,S. Senator, demanded Gonzales’ resignation in 2007.
Inhofe told TheDC he thinks Holder’s reaction is a sign that the Obama administration and Holder have been “caught” doing something wrong and they don’t know how to deal with it other than to attack the messenger.
“Any time someone gets caught doing something like this, if they can [they] blame it on what they consider to be a minority,” Inhofe said. “And they consider the right wing to be minority, even though they’re wrong — if they can do that, they think they can somehow try to transfer the wrongdoing to another party in showing that they have a motivation for this to do things that are not honest.”
Inhofe also saluted TheDC for reporting on Operations Fast and Furious, and on the growing pressure for Holder to resign. He said Holder accusing TheDC of being “behind” the calls for his resignation is a “compliment.”
“He thinks you are that powerful that you can do these things,” Inhofe said. “You see it all the time — you see people hitting Grover Norquist, the Heritage Foundation, anyone who is over there on the right on these issues. They try to neuter them by putting out ‘extreme’ organization [labels].”
Inhofe said he has called for Holder’s resignation before “on a series of things” and Fast and Furious is just the latest on that list.
“One of my first concerns was, I’ve kind of provided the leadership on keeping [Guantanamo Bay] open,” Inhofe said. “As you probably know, Obama has not allowed one new detainee to be transferred to Gitmo since he’s been president. Even though the attorney general could not find anything that was wrong, he was still advocating the closing of Gitmo.”
“Then, back during the Clinton administration, there was Marc Rich,” Inhofe added. Rich was a billionaire fugitive charged with making illegal trades with Iran and tax evasion, and was pardoned by former President Bill Clinton. “Here was a guy who was as bad as it gets, and he’s offering him pardons. At that time, I don’t recall [Holder’s] specific position, but he was clearly in charge of the pardon list and he represented it.”
Inhofe said the lack of DOJ action against the New Black Panther Party for intimidating white voters in Philadelphia is another reason Holder needs to step down.
As for Operation Fast and Furious, Inhofe is convinced that Holder was fully aware of the program and its controversial tactics — allowing guns to “walk” into the hands of dangerous Mexican drug cartels.
Allowing guns to “walk” means law enforcement officials inside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other agencies let straw purchasers traffic weapons into Mexico without interdicting them. Straw purchasers are people who could legally purchase weapons in the United States but did so with the known intention of illegally trafficking them into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels.
Holder claims he didn’t know about Operation Fast and Furious, and that he wasn’t aware of the controversial gun-walking tactics used, despite several briefings his top deputies and assistants sent him. Holder claims he didn’t read the documents — something many of the lawmakers now demanding his resignation say is a sign of incompetence.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, the head of the DOJ’s Criminal Division, admitted recently that he was aware of the controversial tactics employed in Operation Wide Receiver — a Bush-era program similar to Fast and Furious — and conceded that he didn’t pursue warnings of similarities between the two programs aggressively enough.
Breuer isn’t the only senior DOJ official who is now known to have been aware of gun walking occurring, but he’s the most prominent. Either way, Inhofe told TheDC common sense indicates that Holder must have been aware of the operation and its controversial tactics.
“You can’t tell me that if his deputy attorney general, his deputy chief of staff, his assistant attorney general — that they were all aware of this and that he was not,” Inhofe said. “Something as high-profile as this operation, he would’ve known about it, and so he’d have to be lying.”
“Here’s a guy who told the House that he didn’t know about this operation, and then we find out later that he did,” Inhofe added. “So, that’s essentially lying to the House and that’s another reason right there to do what he did [on Tuesday at the White House].”