Eric Holder the United States attorney general, is apparently getting sick and tired of the lectures and harangues he takes from Republican congressmembers pretty much whenever he is required to give testimony before a congressional committee. His prickly exchange with Tea Party Texas Republican Louis Gohmert Tuesday was far more blunt than the usual restrained exchanges expected between congressional reps and witnesses giving testimony.
But the funny thing was, this Eric Holder appearance before the House Judiciary Committee was going pretty well for all concerned — for the first two whole hours of Holder testimony.
The difficulty — or fun — began when Gohmert for some reason decided to remind Eric Holder of a two-year-old ruling by the Republican-led House that declared Holder in contempt of congress, for allegedly refusing to turn over documents related to the so-called Fast and Furious scandal, in which border agents botched a sting operation as they tried to catch gun smugglers coming in from Mexico.
Gohmert condescendingly remarked, “I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important that we have proper oversight.”
That line set Eric Holder off. The attorney general pointed his finger toward the Texan rep, warning him, “You don’t want to go there, Buddy. You don’t want to go there, okay?”
Holder’s sharp rebuke seemed to catch Gohmert off guard.
“I don’t want to go there?” he said.
“You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me,” Holder shot back. “I think it was inappropriate. I think it was unjust. But never think that was not a big deal to me. Don’t ever think that.”
Gohmert, attempting to regain the upper hand, replied, “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.”
It was clear from the exchange that Eric Holder, while he may or may not have had contempt for congress, was dripping with contempt for Gohmert, telling him, “I don’t need lectures from you.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Eric Holder finished off his testimony by leaning into his microphone and telling Gohmert, “Good luck with your asparagus.”
The Eric Holder remark was a reference to a bizarre comment Gohmert made at a hearing last year, when Holder gave him a verbal lashing for accusing the FBI of having blown “the opportunity to save people’s lives” in the Boston Marathon Bombing.
Completely thrown off by the stern talking to he received from Eric Holder, Gohmert at that time weirdly blurted out a warning for Holder not to “cast aspersions on my asparagus.”