Rep. Louie Gohmert clashed with Attorney General Eric Holder at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday after the Texas Republican suggested that "contempt" was "not a big deal" to Holder.
"You don’t want to go there, buddy," Holder quickly snapped. "You don’t want to go there, OK?"
Gohmert challenged Holder on repeated requests the committee had made for documents in Justice's case against the Holy Land Foundation, a designated terrorist group based in Texas, CNS reports.
Founders of the group, who have been convicted and sentenced for funneling money to Hamas, are seeking a new trial. They have cited ineffective representation in their request.
But Justice disputed their claims in February, saying that a "mountain of evidence" existed that the Islamic charity was controlled by Hamas, CNS reports.
"I was fairly specific to make sure that I got the documents that the Department of Justice handed over to people convicted of supporting terrorism," Gohmert said. "They’re terrorists. We’ve given them the documents."
Gohmert said the committee had sent Justice repeated requests for the documents that had been used to prosecute Holy Land founders but were only provided a link to "nearly 500 publicly available exhibits that were admitted into evidence" and were instructed "to check the public access to court electronic records."
Meanwhile, the requested documents were "put on discs and sent to Illinois," so they are easily available — "just not to members of Congress," Gohmert said.
"Attorney General, I’ve read in the Fifth Circuit opinion, about 9,600 summaries of transcripts of conversations that the Justice Department had that were made available to attorneys for the terrorists," he continued. "I still do not understand why your department can provide documents to terrorists’ lawyers, and many of them to four out of eight of the terrorists, and not provide them to members of Congress."
Here is the exchange:
Gohmert: "Sir, I’ve read you what your department promised, and it is inadequate — and I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important that we have proper oversight."
Holder: "You don’t want to go there, buddy. You don’t want to go there, OK?"
Gohmert: "I don’t want to go there?"
Gohmert: "About the contempt?"
Holder: "You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me. I think that it was inappropriate. I think it was unjust, but never think that that was not a big deal to me. Don’t ever think that."
Gohmert: "Well, I’m just looking for evidence, and normally we’re known by our fruits — and there have been no indications that it was a big deal, because your department has still not been forthcoming in producing the documents that were the subject of the contempt."
Holder: "The documents that we were prepared to make available then, we’re prepared to make available now that would have obviated the whole need. This was all about the gun lobby and a desire to have a … "
Gohmert: "Sir, we’ve been trying to get to the bottom of Fast and Furious where people died, where at least a couple hundred Mexicans died, and we can’t get the information to get to the bottom of that, so I don’t need lectures from you about contempt, because it is very difficult to deal with asking questions."
Holder: "And I don’t need lectures from you either."
Gohmert: "As a former judge, I’d never have asked questions of someone who’s been held in contempt. We waited 'til the contempt was purged, and then we asked questions."
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