Holder Dodges Fast and Furiously

Eric Holder appeared before the House Judiciary Committee this morning and was quizzed on a number of topics, including Fast and Furious. The administration evidently intends to string out the Fast and Furious investigations until after the election. Holder can’t answer basic questions about the operation–like who authorized it–and simply defers to the fact that the DOJ’s Inspector General is conducting an investigation. The House Oversight Committee has subpoenaed a large number of documents, and DOJ is stiffing Congress by not producing them. Apparently DOJ is asserting some sort of privilege, but the Department apparently hasn’t produced a privilege log so that the committee can see what sorts of documents are being withheld and on what basis. At the moment, it seems likely that Holder will succeed in delaying any further public disclosure until after the election. The Republicans’ only option at this point is to vote a contempt of Congress resolution.

In the meantime, Holder is taking some serious flak from Congress. There were a number of heated exchanges in today’s hearing, but one of the more remarkable moments was not in that category. Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah was questioning Holder about his claim that no senior DOJ officials knew about Fast and Furious until after agent Brian Terry’s murder on December 14, 2010. But the committee has an email exchange between Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein and James Trusty, who heads DOJ’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, dated October 14-October 18, 2010, which contains multiple references to Fast and Furious, including this one:

Incredibly, Holder told the House Judiciary Committee that these emails had nothing to do with Fast and Furious! When Chaffetz pointed out that the emails specifically refer to “Fast and Furious,” Holder replied that he has “superior knowledge” of the matter. Chaffetz responds with disbelief. That exchange is toward the end of this video:

Talk about contempt of Congress! Holder isn’t an idiot; he knows that what he is saying makes no sense. His longstanding claim that he and other senior DOJ officials didn’t know about Fast and Furious until after Terry’s murder is shown to be a lie by the Weinstein/Trusty emails and other evidence, of which Holder is well aware. In effect, he is sneering at Congress, secure in the knowledge that his misconduct will go unreported by the administration’s friends in the press. It really is a disgusting spectacle, even by the standards of Eric Holder’s politicized Department of Justice.

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