Ariz. congressman: Pressure to resign is getting to Eric Holder
Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, among the first Congressmen to demand Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation over the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, told The Daily Caller he thinks Holder is on the ropes and feeling increasing pressure from Congress and the American people.
Fifty-two House members, two Senators, four presidential candidates and two sitting governors have already demanded Holder’s ouster. Gosar was the third congressman to call for his resignation, and held a press conference on Nov. 15 during which several members of Congress followed suit.
Fast and Furious was a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives program, overseen by the Justice Department, which facilitated the sale of thousands of weapons, via straw purchasers, to Mexican drug cartels. Straw purchasers are people who can legally purchase guns in the United States but do so with the intention of illegally trafficking them into Mexico.
At least 300 Mexicans were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Gosar said Holder bears responsibility for the operation. Holder is expected to face another round of questions about the scandal on Thursday when he appears before the full House oversight committee.
“I don’t know how he [Holder] could have allowed this to occur,” Gosar told The Daily Caller. “When you go back in the timeline — and I’m very meticulous about timelines — back in 2009 he [Holder] talked about changing the whole mantra of following gun-walking and trying to follow these guns. The president even followed up by utilizing false numbers. He said 90 percent of all the guns going into Mexico come from the United States, when that didn’t occur. You can see that this was on their radar screen.”
Over the weekend, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney became the latest to call for Holder to step down.
During a Nov. 29 White House event, Holder lost control when TheDC asked him to respond to the surge in calls for his resignation. Instead of addressing the issue, Holder lashed out at a Daily Caller reporter for the continued reporting on the story. “You guys need to — you need to stop this,” Holder said. “It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening. You guys are behind it.”
Gosar told TheDC that Holder’s outburst is a sign that he is feeling the heat from Capitol Hill — and from the American people. “I think pressure gets to people when it appears they’re trying to cover things up,” Gosar said. “I think it’s very unprofessional when it comes to that. We’re held to a standard in leadership. When you’re the head of a program or agency, you’re expected to have better protocol than that.”
Gosar dismissed Holder’s claim that the calls for his resignation aren’t “organic” and that The Daily Caller is “behind it.” Reporters can’t control what he says or does, he added, nor can any news outlet control what other members of Congress say or do.
“That’s just outright ridiculous,” Gosar told TheDC. “You guys have listened to us and written stories about what we’ve said in our own words. I think what’s problematic is that they [the Obama administration] have no control over you to keep from printing this stuff, which is a big problem on the major networks. It has gone on this long unfettered and unaccounted for.”
On Friday night, Holder and the DOJ dumped a new trove of documents related to Fast and Furious, providing details surrounding false statements the DOJ made in a February letter to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. Justice denied in that letter that it allowed guns to “walk,” or to be sold to drug cartels in Mexico via straw purchasers. Holder and Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who heads the DOJ’s criminal division, have since admitted those statements were false.
These documents appear to provide Congress with new insights and crucial context surrounding how those false statements were inserted into an official DOJ communication with Congress. Gosar told TheDC the document dump shows that Holder and the rest of the Obama administration “keep contradicting themselves.”
“What we’re starting to see now is more evidence that’s more compelling,” Gosar said. “It shows a whole agency out of control.”
Last week news broke that the Justice Department asked a federal judge to seal court records surrounding the investigation into Terry’s murder. Gosar isn’t pleased about the DOJ’s lack of transparency.
“What gave him [Holder] the ability to seal records on Brian Terry?” Gosar asked. “What is that you are doing? That should be an open case. Why isn’t that?”
“We’ve lost confidence [in Holder],” Gosar adds. “That’s one of those things that not only Congress, but the American people have to have, is confidence and that they have an attorney general who is fair, impartial and upholds the letter of the law.”