Attorney General Eric Holder accused his growing chorus of critics of racist motivations in a Sunday interview published in the New York Times. When reached by The Daily Caller Monday morning, the Department of Justice provided no evidence to support the attorney general’s claims.
Holder said some unspecified faction — what he refers to as the “more extreme segment” — is driven to criticize both him and President Barack Obama due to the color of their skin. Holder did not appear to elaborate on who he considered to make up the “more extreme segment.”
“This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him,” Holder said, according to the Times. “Both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”
The White House hasn’t returned requests for comment on whether President Barack Obama agrees with his top law enforcement officer’s allegations of racial motivations.
Holder’s accusations come as resignation calls mount from a growing list of 60 congressmen, two senators, every major Republican presidential candidate and two sitting governors, spurred on by the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.
Additionally, seventy-five congressmen have signed onto a House resolution for a vote of “no confidence” in Holder as attorney general. Between the two lists, there are 86 total in the House who no longer trust Holder to head the Department of Justice.
It’s not the first time the race card has come into play in efforts to protect Holder from criticism.
Most recently, during a December 8 House Judiciary Committee hearing into Fast and Furious where Holder was testifying, Georgia Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson argued that Fast and Furious wasn’t that big of a scandal because “white supremacists,” among others he described, were able to purchase weapons at “gun shows.” Johnson, who was concerned Guam may “tip over and capsize” if more military personnel are sent there, later told TheDC that he thinks the tea party movement and the National Rifle Association “manufactured” Fast and Furious as a scandal to try to attack the president.
The White House hasn’t denounced Johnson’s rhetoric, nor has Holder. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), however, wouldn’t side with him — even unofficially — last week. (RELATED: Rifts in Congressional Black Caucus over Fast and Furious, Holder)
Fast and Furious was a program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, overseen by Holder’s DOJ. It sent thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels via straw purchasers — people who legally purchased guns in the United States with the known intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else.
At least 300 people in Mexico were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. The identities of the Mexican victims are unknown.
Holder has said he was unaware of the operation, despite having been sent several personal memos from his top deputies and assistants. The memos contained intimate details of how Operation Fast and Furious worked. “This investigation [Fast and Furious, which is named earlier in the memo] — initiated in September 2009 in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Phoenix Police Department — involves a Phoenix-based firearms trafficking ring headed by Manuel Celis-Acosta,” one such memo that Holder was provided reads. “Celis-Acosta and straw purchasers are responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug-trafficking cartels. They also have direct ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, which is suspected of providing $1 million for the purchase of firearms in the greater Phoenix area.”
In his Times interview, Holder again attacked the media who are covering the scandal. “Mr. Holder contended that many of his other critics — not only elected Republicans but also a broader universe of conservative commentators and bloggers — were instead playing ‘Washington gotcha’ games, portraying them as frequently ‘conflating things, conveniently leaving some stuff out, construing things to make it seem not quite what it was’ to paint him and other department figures in the worst possible light,” Times reporter Charlie Savage wrote in the front page Sunday Times story.
Holder also attacked the media for covering the Fast and Furious scandal. Holder swiped at TheDC in late November, alleging that The Daily Caller is “behind” the calls for his resignation because it has been reporting on the subject.
“You guys need to — you need to stop this,” Holder told TheDC at a White House event. “It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening. You guys are behind it.”