Attorney General Eric Holder appeared again before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning to testify about both his Justice Department’s continued stonewalling of Congress’s investigation into deadly Fast and Furious gunwalking operation, as well as an ongoing probe of the cyberattack-related national security leaks coming out of the White House of late. It wasn’t the most productive hearing to date in terms of getting answers, despite the gathering thunder calling for Congress to formally hold Eric Holder in contempt for deliberately neglecting to comply with the F&F-related Congressional subpoena (last week, we learned that of the known 140,000 existing documents relating to Fast and Furious, Holder has only turned over 7,600 to the House Oversight Comittee).
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), however, did give voice to a lot of the frustrations running high with Eric Holder and his sketchy Justice Department. All of this stonewalling doesn’t do much to convince us of your innocence, Mr. Holder, and during a heated exchange, Cornyn went right for the metaphorical jugular:
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, made the call for Holder’s resignation during a Senate hearing late Tuesday morning. It came in the context of GOP concerns about Holder’s decision to appoint two lawyers from within his department to handle the politically sensitive leak probe — as well as concerns about Fast and Furious.
“I would say that you leave me no alternative but to join those that call upon you to resign your office,” Cornyn said. “Americans deserve an attorney general that will be honest with them, they deserve an attorney general who will uphold the basic standards of political independence and accountability. You’ve proven time and time again, sadly, that you’re unwilling to do so.”
Holder in response accused Republicans of playing politics, and specifically accused Cornyn of “breathtaking” inaccuracies.
“I don’t have any intention of resigning,” he said.
Cornyn joined in with the 130 House members who have so far officially called for Holder’s resignation, and he had plenty of reasoning to back up his resolution:
“The leaking of classified information represents a major threat to national security, and your office faces a clear conflict of interest, yet you will not appoint a special counsel,” Cornyn told the attorney general. “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 the legitimate Congressional investigation, and you won’t hold anyone – including yourself – accountable.”
Cornyn also says that the Justice Department is preventing states from taking steps to prevent voter fraud, a reference to the DOJ’s opposition to the Florida state government’s attempts to remove ineligible voters from voter registration rolls. …
“He’s shown himself incapable of separating himself as an arm of the Obama administration and an independent attorney general that’s supposed to be the chief law enforcement [official] for the country,” Cornyn said.
Ouch. The smarm on Holder’s end was perhaps slightly less palpable than usual — perhaps because Congress decided to hold a vote on contempt proceedings next week — but Holder insisted that his boss has “full confidence” in him. …Uh huh. If that’s the case, President Obama is probably the last remaining American who does.
Update: Here’s Sen. Cornyn on Fox News with his post-hearing analysis.
Update (Ed): Here’s Cornyn’s full statement, as well as Holder’s response: