Cornyn berates Holder in hearing, calls for his resignation
Sen. John Cornyn lambasted Attorney General Eric Holder and called for his resignation Tuesday morning during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Holder appeared before the committee to address questions about Operation Fast and Furious and alleged politically-motivated national security intelligence leaks.
Cornyn called for Holder to resign over the attorney general’s handling of Fast and Furious, making him now the fourth U.S. senator to do so.
The Texas Republican joins Sens. Jim DeMint, Johnny Isakson and James Inhofe in demanding Holder resign over the scandal.
Cornyn is the closest U.S. senator to the investigation who has called for Holder to resign and now he’s the only one who has done so to Holder’s face.
Cornyn started talking about Holder’s “track record” when Holder interrupted – prompting Cornyn to accuse Holder of “filibustering” his time.
When Cornyn retook control, he started out saying Holder’s “track record” includes how he “misled Congress in February 2011 and claimed that there never had been a gun walking program. You had to retract that in November 2011.”
“You misled Rep. Issa in May 2011 by saying you did not learn about the Fast and Furious program until the Spring of 2011,” Cornyn continued. “And then, you had to admit to Sen. Grassley that you learned about those tactics in January of 2011.”
“You claimed at a press conference in September 2011 that you had no knowledge of the gunwalking program, while it’s clear that your inner-circle, your high-ranking Department of Justice employees, received briefings and memos on gunwalking in Fast and Furious, including Deputy AG Grindler and others in early 2010.
“You claim that Fast and Furious wiretap applications did not detail gun walking tactics,” Cornyn went on. “Sen. Sessions has read them. I’ve read them. And, Sen. Grassley has obviously read them. They do raise plenty of details or raise a red flag about this tactic.”
“You have defied the lawful and legitimate oversight responsibilities of the House of Representatives and of the Senate,” Cornyn added. “You have resisted producing documents, you’ve produced about 7,600 documents out of a pool of at least 80,000 documents and you’ve failed to respond to my letter of August 2011 where I’ve asked you about gunwalking tactics that occurred in my state.”
“So sixteen months after Fast and Furious has been uncovered when Brian Terry lost his life at the hands of a drug cartel member who shot him using a weapon that was allowed to walk, there’s been zero accountability at the Department of Justice. You won’t appoint a special prosecutor in the case of a potential conflict of interest. You won’t tell the truth about what you knew and when you knew it when it comes to Fast and Furious. You won’t cooperate with a legitimate congressional investigation. You won’t answer my questions about gun walking in Texas. You won’t take any responsibility for failures of your inner circle. And, you won’t acknowledge what your top aides knowingly misled Congress about and you won’t hold anyone accountable.”
Cornyn said he thinks this has come to an “impasse.”
“The leaking of classified information represents a threat to national security, and your office faces a clear conflict of interest and you won’t appoint a special counsel,” Cornyn said. “You won’t support a truly independent investigation and you won’t take this threat seriously. Meanwhile, you still resist coming clean about what you knew and when you knew it with regard to Operation Fast and Furious. You won’t cooperate with a legitimate congressional investigation and you won’t hold anyone, including yourself, accountable.”
“Your Department blocks states from implementing attempts to combat voter fraud,” Cornyn continued. “In short, you’ve violated the public trust in my view by failing and refusing to perform the duties of your office.”
“So, Mr. Attorney General, it is more with sorrow than regret and anger that I would say you leave me no alternative but to join those who have called upon you to resign your office,” Cornyn said. “Americans deserve an Attorney General who’ll be honest with them. They deserve an Attorney General who’ll uphold the basic standards of political independence and accountability. You’ve proven time and time again that, sadly, you’re unwilling to do so.”
“It is my sincere hope that President Obama will replace you with someone who is up to that challenge,” Cornyn added.
Holder called Cornyn’s call for his resignation “breathtaking in its inaccuracy,” before reiterating his claim that he’s cooperated with the congressional investigation.