Holder Slams 'Ugly and Divisive' Treatment by Republicans

Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 08:05 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday criticized the House Judiciary Committee, a day after he had an angry exchange with a Republican committee member, Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert.

Holder told a large audience attending the annual convention of civil rights activist Al Sharpton's National Action Network in New York that he and President Barack Obama had been subjected to "unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive" attacks by Republicans. A video clip of the speech was posted on the Breitbart website.

Story continues below video.



"Since the day I became attorney general in 2009, I have been proud to stand alongside of you in supporting efforts to advance the cause of justice that has always been at the center of this administration's work," Holder said in his speech.

"I am pleased to note that the last five years have been defined by significant strides and lasting reforms, even in the face of unprecedented, unwarranted ugly adversity.

"And if you don't believe that, you look at the way, forget about me, you look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee. Had nothing to do with me, what attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?"

Holder was declared in contempt of Congress two years ago after failing to supply the House Oversight Committee with a full set of documents pertaining to the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal. He was the first Justice Department leader in the history of the U.S. to be held in contempt.

On Tuesday, when Holder was testifying before the House Judiciary committee, Gohmert said to the attorney general that "contempt" was "not a big deal" to him. Holder immediately snapped back, "You don't want to go there, buddy. You don't want to go there, OK?"

Gohmert had been challenging Holder on repeated requests the committee had made for documents in the Justice Department's case against the Holy Land Foundation, a designated terrorist group based in Texas. The founders of the group, who have been convicted and sentenced for funneling money to Hamas, are seeking a new trial.

Also at the hearing on Tuesday, Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold angered Holder by telling the committee that he was not going to ask the attorney general any questions because Holder should be in jail for not handing over the subpoenaed Fast and Furious documents.

The 2012 subpoena demanded that Holder turn over any documents relating to the operation under which agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were told not to intervene in stopping stop guns bought in the United States from being taken to Mexico.

The plan was to trace the weapons in the hope they would lead them to the leaders of vicious drug cartels. But it misfired and hundreds of assault weapons went missing. They have been used in dozens of crimes in Mexico, and at least 12 in the United States.

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