Fast and Furious: Holder “regrets” lies, condemns “distraction,” redistributes the blame; Holder denies receiving F&F memos; NO STRAIGHT APOLOGY TO TERRY FAMILY; Grassley and Cornyn nail Holder: “Are you winging it?”
I'm reproducing in its entirety; vids can be seen at link.
Forget the circus. Here’s the real scandal. Attorney General Eric Holder is on the hot seat this morning at the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Charles Grassley is pressing Holder on continued Fast and Furious stonewalling and lies. Holder has just dismissed as a “distraction” the scrutiny of his false testimony over when he knew what. Holder says “I did say ‘a few weeks.’ I could have said ‘a few months.’” Weeks, months. Whatever.
(See Matt Boyle for background, opening prepared statements.)
I’m livetweeting here.
Watch online here.
Philip Klein notes Holder’s concession this morning:
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder conceded this morning that under his leadership, agents allowed guns to “walk” into Mexico, where they ended up in the hands of drug lords, and he said that the effects of this mistake would be felt for years to come.
“I want to be clear: any instance of so-called ‘gun-walking’ is simply unacceptable,” Holder said in his opening statement before the Senate Judiciary committee. “Regrettably, this tactic was used as part of Fast and Furious, which was launched to combat gun trafficking and violence on our Southwest Border. This operation was flawed in concept, as well as in execution. And, unfortunately, we will feel its effects for years to come as guns that were lost during this operation continue to show up at crime scenes both here and in Mexico.”
When will Holder feel some effects and consequences?
Holder asserts this morning: “”Fast and Furious was a flawed response TO, not cause OF’ the problem of U.S. guns going to Mexico.” Setting up for more gun control, Holder says the solution is more money for DOJ and more enforcement “tools” for the government.
In July, DOJ engaged in its first gun control head fake.
Reminder: “In the wake of swelling outrage over the Obama administration’s fatally botched Fast and Furious straw gun purchase racket, the DOJ is punishing the very whistleblowers who protested the scheme in the first place. This is a head fake. Instead of exercising more control over lawless bureaucrats within its own agencies, the Obama administration is tightening its grip over law-abiding gun shops.”
Holder is doubling down on corruption and stupidity — blaming gun shop dealers again, despite the fact that licensees were key in exposing Fast and Furious.
Grassley is not having it. He stated this morning: “This tragedy should not be used to call for more gun control.” And added: “It doesn’t matter how many laws we pass if those in charge of enforcing them don’t do their duty!
Holder brags this morning about how DOJ has handled Fast and Furious: “I took action.”
Yes: To cover it up.
More liveblogging hearing…
Grassley grills Holder on Lanny Breuer’s admission of failures. Holder on false Breuer letter: “I regret that.” But Holder refuses to admit that DOJ knew the letter was false.
DrewMTips tweets: “Holder keeps calling tactics in F&F ‘flawed.’ Others might use ‘criminally negligent.’ Tomato/Tomahto
Grassley brings up conversation w/Holder regarding leaked retaliation letter against whistleblower John Dodson: What action was taken?
Holder whines about conversation becoming public, though Grassley said he asked him if it would be okay. Holder then says the leaks are “under investigation” — though those investigating are the ones suspected of leaking.
Foxes guarding the henhouse.
Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer are playing the Blame Bush card.
Katie Pavlich points out clear distinction between Bush-era Operation Wide Receiver and Obama-era Fast and Furious:
Under Wide Receiver, the Mexican government knew about it & 300 guns were traced. Under #fastandfurious, Mexico was left in dark, and 2,000 guns were lost.
11:29am Eastern. Sen. John Cornyn grills on timing and memos addressed to Holder.
“I DID NOT RECEIVE THEM.”
Cornyn to Holder: Have you apologized to murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s family? Have you talked to them? Holder: NO and NO.
Holder has “sympathy” & “regret” for Terry family, but still REFUSES to admit F&F led to Brian Terry’s death and refuses to issue straight apology.
Water carrier Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Whitehouse now making excuses for Holder not reading memos addressed to him. It’s a “convention” for junior staff to write memos to the AG that he’ll never read.
Shorter Whitehouse: Makework memos addressed to AG make jr staff feel better & more important. Let’s keep up that kabuki.
Interesting side note: Holder has mentioned violence against police several times this morning — at a time when the Occupy Wall Street movement is ramping up anti-police rhetoric and actions across the country.
A series of Democrat Senators have been sucking up to Holder, lavishing praise on his work, and asking him about anything but Fast and Furious.
The public displays of affection are bordering on obscene.
At 12:08pm Eastern, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Holder are discussing the “regulation of bath salts.”
The Hill covers some of the morning’s sparring.
After a time-wasting lovefest with Democrat Senators and diversion into Dick Durbin attacking FBI national security profiling that parroted CAIR talking points, Grassley corrected the Holder/Leahy smear that GOP has only been investigating Obama-era gunwalking. He noted that he has requested documents about other gunwalking operations in both GOP and Dem administrations and that DOJ has stonewalled.
After 9 months, Democrat majority now says it is interested in investigating Bush-eara gunwalking. Maybe Grassley will get his documents now.
Cornyn presses Holder on the false Feb 4 Breuer letter. Holder refuses to call it a false letter.
Cornyn to Holder: Do you know factual diffs between Op Wide Receiver & Fast and Furious? Holder stammers.
Cornyn to Holder: Are you winging this or do you know?
Just as Katie Pavlich noted earlier (see above), Cornyn schools Holder on how Mexican govt knew/cooperated w/Wide Receiver vs F&F, in which Mexican government was left in dark.
Holder blubbered that he wasn’t equating Wide Receiver and F&F. But he sat there all morning allowing Dems to equate the two.
Cornyn asks if a single person has been held accountable. Holder mentions former Arizona US attorney.
Matt Boyle responds: “Wait, so Holder just changed story again – he now says AZ US atty gone because of F&F – wasn’t case before.”
Nailed. Nailed. Nailed.
Now, it’s time to crank up the pressure, turn up the heat, and support the watchdogs on Capitol Hill holding these corruptocrats accountable.
Here’s a link to the full video of the hearing at CSPAN.
Just your daily public service reminder: “Screw up, move up, cover up” is the Holder way, the Obama way, the Washington way. And innocent Americans pay.