House Republicans had to move to hold attorney general Eric Holder in contempt because they had no option given his stonewalling in the Fast and Furious gunrunning case, GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.
Holder’s Justice Department has been given every possible opportunity to cooperate with House and Senate probes, but has chosen not to, the Texan said.
And the contempt for Congress goes all the way up to President Barack Obama, added Farenthold, a member of the House Oversight Committee which is leading the investigation.
See exclusive Newsmax interview below
“We are dealing with a specific instance here of the Department of Justice not turning over thousands of pages of documents relating to the death of a border patrol agent and allowing over 2,000 guns to go from the United States into Mexico in violation of both United States and Mexican law. And nobody is willing, in the Justice Department, to work with us,” he said.
“They go after anybody who is a whistleblower. They stonewall at every turn. It is absolutely unacceptable behavior from one branch of government to the other.”
The congressman was talking on the day that the Oversight Committee’s Republican chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa of California issued a 44-page draft complaint calling for Congress to hold Holder in contempt for refusing to hand over documents surrounding the case.
“It’s Congress’ job to keep an eye on the other agencies and the workings of the entire government. It is our constitutional duty,” said Farenthold, whose district includes Corpus Christie and a swath of the Texas Gulf Coast.
“They are refusing to turn over any documents after a certain date where the investigation began,” he pointed out. “With violations of the law and the inappropriate behavior, it’s the cover-up that gets you every time.
“We are looking to oversee how this agency is managed. Are they doing what is right for the American people? Are they good stewards of the American taxpayers’ money? Quite frankly, in this case, if you look at how Fast and Furious operated, did they have a lick of common sense?”
Farenthold said he believes Operation Fast and Furious could all have been a set-up to increase gun-control laws. “There are a couple of options as I see it. One: there are some incompetent folks there. The other, more scary, one for me is ‘was there any sort of agenda.’
“One of the results of Operation Fast and Furious was a change in regulatory schemes, that without an Act of Congress, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, [and Explosives] now requires gun dealers in border states to file reports on multiple sales of certain types of weapons. So if I were to go out and buy my wife and two daughters a long gun, I would be reported as a possible straw buyer.
“We are taking away people’s Second Amendment rights by executive fiat. Was this the plan all along? That is something the American people need to know.”
But he denied that the move against Holder is an election-year political move aimed at derailing Obama’s re-election. “If we were going to do that we would have waited till October,” he said. “This is about getting to the bottom of this.”
He said Holder still has time to resign, but even if that happened he would want the probe to continue “to see if this went even beyond Mr. Holder.”
Farenthold isn’t the only GOP member of the committee speaking out.
Trey Gowdy of South Carolina said, "It did not have to come to this. Congress has a constitutional responsibility to exercise oversight over the Executive Branch and that oversight responsibility began well over a year ago with respect to Fast and Furious.
“Despite repeated requests for documents, multiple appearances before various committees of Congress, and more than ample time to comply, the Department of Justice has still failed to answer fundamental questions about this ill-conceived, ill-executed firearms operation.
“Congress has been patient — indeed too patient in my judgment — with the Department of Justice and its failure to comply with the lawful request for the production of documents.
“I understand that for some everything is political. Surely the Department of Justice can rise above petty, partisan politics and comply with a subpoena. The Department of Justice expects others to comply with subpoenas yet they will not do so themselves.”
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