Backed into a corner, Attorney General Eric Holder may have bought some time to avoid a contempt of Congress vote by finally agreeing to turn over documents related to Operation Fast and Furious that he has steadfastly resisted doing up until now. Finally, with a vote scheduled for next Wednesday morning by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and more than 100 elected members of Congress on the record calling for holding him in contempt, or even for his resignation, Holder offered to cooperate with the committee. At least a little bit. He offered to come up with “creative ways” to make some of the materials available.
Michael Walsh, laid it out in a column in The New York Post:
After more than a year of half-truths, stonewalling, obfuscating and outright lying to Congress about the “gunwalking” scandal known as Fast and Furious, Attorney General Eric Holder now finds himself trapped in a box canyon, out of ammo and surrounded by hostiles.
It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
Finally run to ground, the embattled AG has tossed House and Senate investigators a fig leaf of feigned cooperation, just ahead of a House committee’s vote next week on whether to cite him for contempt.
“I’m offering to sit down with the speaker, the chairman, with you and work our way through this in an attempt to avoid a constitutional crisis and come up with ways, creative ways, in which to make these materials available,” Holder this week told Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On Friday, committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) agreed to postpone the vote, contingent on Holder actually delivering on his last minute decision to cooperate. But even if he does cooperate on the 1,300 pages of documents he has said he is prepared to turn over, Issa has subpoenaed 140,000 pages of material that Holder has turned over to the AG’s Inspector General.
We have documented the Fast and Furious case in an AIM Report last October, and since then there has been additional information that Holder and his top deputies had knowledge of who authorized and who knew about the operation.
Why did Holder change his position? As Michael Walsh put it, in the Post, “The smoking gun was the discovery earlier this month of wiretap applications that made it clear that senior Justice officials — including Assistant AG Lanny Breuer and others — were not only in the loop on F&F, but had approved its tactics. And done so over the vehement objections of agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who were tasked with the operation.”
MSNBC’s Martin Bashir ignored the substance of the accusations against Holder and became unhinged over this, calling the situation “A new spirit of bullying” and “a witch hunt.” Speaking to the ranking Democrat on the House committee, Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Bashir asked, “Isn’t this a convenient camouflage because what they really don’t like about this man are some of the things like the trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to take place at a federal court in Manhattan, like the possible legalization of gay marriage? These are the issues that they hate this man for, and that’s why they’re using this to attack him.”
We’ll soon learn how creative Holder can be.