The first half of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today was just as lively as expected. Democrats on the Committee attempted to hijack the hearing, questioning Eric Holder about obscure and unrelated issues, while Republicans piercingly queried the AG about Fast and Furious.
Not surprisingly, Holder cleaved to insubstantial excuses for both his purported ignorance of the program and his misstatements at past congressional hearings. At one point, for example, he insisted he was telling the truth when he testified earlier this year that he first found out about Fast and Furious “a few weeks” prior to his congressional testimony of May 3. Today, Holder acknowledged he learned of Fast and Furious sometime in February — but claimed 10 to 12 weeks could easily be encompassed in the expression “a few weeks.”
Does Holder know the difference between weeks and months? Does he know “a few” commonly refers to “three”?
Another deeply ironic moment came in the last minutes before the Committee recessed.
Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah delivered an efficient and effective line of questioning to Holder, asking whether he spoke at any point about Fast and Furious to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or President Barack Obama. Holder’s answers: No, no and … I don’t think so. He doesn’t even know whether he spoke to the president about a scandalously stupid and ultimately lethal program? Inexcusable.
As Chaffetz continued to grill Holder, an exasperated AG resorted to admonishing the Congressman.
“You need to understand something about the way Washington works,” Holder told Chaffetz, to snickering from the Democrats on the Committee.
Really? How about Washington changes the way it works, so as to not authorize or inadvertently ignore a program that endangers lives in two countries, exacerbates a drug war we’re trying to fight and weakens relations with Mexico? How about a Washington rid of blatant incompetence and troubling corruption? A couple of suggestions to start: (1) The Attorney General could begin to read his memos and (2) He could stop punishing whistleblowers.
OR, how about a Washington rid of Rep. Judy Chu, who, at today’s hearing, actually applauded Holder for his work in support of voters’ rights? Can you say “New Black Panther Party intimidation case”?
The second half of the hearing promises to be as interesting as the first, but, unfortunately, nothing the AG can say — or the GOPers on the Senate Judiciary Committee can ask — change this troubling truth: F&F has already resulted in the loss of lives — and will likely result in the loss of more, as even Holder himself admitted today.