The spate of scandals engulfing the Justice Department should lead President Barack Obama to seek the resignation of embattled Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Ted Cruz said on Thursday.
"Yes. Absolutely," the Texas Republican told Megyn Kelly on Fox News. "This Department of Justice has demonstrated a willingness to disregard the law. The conduct of the Justice Department doesn’t inspire confidence."
Holder continues to face increased criticism over Justice's recent obtaining of telephone records of editors and reporters at The Associated Press, the 2009 monitoring of electronic communications of Fox reporter James Rosen — as well as his testimony earlier this month to the House Judiciary Committee that he was not involved in either incident.
News reports have since linked the attorney general to both scandals.
"By all appearances, the attorney general went before Congress and stated that he had nothing to do with it — and now, it’s become public that he did, in fact, have a lot to do with it," Cruz said. "The attorney general needs to come forward and explain what the truth is and why he told something different."
The recent controversies are "part and parcel of the pattern from this administration of not respecting the Bill of rights — not respecting the First Amendment, not respecting the Second Amendment, not respecting our Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights regarding drone strikes, regarding the IRS," Cruz said.
"Over and over again, the pattern we've seen is an unfortunate willingness to use the machinery of the federal government as a partisan tool to punish those perceived as your political enemies."
Cruz, who served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush, also pointed to the botched Fast and Furious gun-running operation as another example of Holder's incompetence.
Under the scheme, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers between 2006 and 2011, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartels.
Instead, the effort led to the deaths of two federal agents and hundreds of Mexican nationals.
Holder was found in contempt of Congress by the House of Representatives last June for failing to turn over more than 1,500 pages of Justice documents related to Fast and Furious. And in congressional testimony in May 2011, the attorney general said that he had heard of Fast and Furious for the first time "over the last few weeks."
"We have seen a lack of candor from the attorney general — and there’s been a pattern at the Department of Justice of disregarding the law," Cruz told Fox. "The Department of Justice is an institution that reveres the law and has a solemn obligation to follow the law.
"When you have the United States Department of Justice disregarding the law multiple times, it raises serious concerns."
The first-term senator further criticized the Obama administration for mishandling the controversies surrounding the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi last Sept. 11 and the targeting of tea party, conservative, and religious groups by the Internal Revenue Service.
"In recent weeks, there's at least two instances of senior officials for the administration telling flat-out falsehoods," Cruz said. "President Obama needs to take responsibility and needs to tell the truth."
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