It was a heated exchange between Attorney General Eric Holder and Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas on Tuesday in a House Judiciary Committee hearing, with barbs coming from both sides. Rep. Gohmert brought up documents that Eric Holder has been held in contempt for failing to provide to Congress, yet he has released them to attorneys for terrorists.
In all the entertainment provided by the not-so-friendly banter, it can be easy to miss a very serious issue - why is Eric Holder's Department of Justice releasing documents to terrorists that he still won't release to the committee that represents the interests of the American people? Do "we, the people" not deserve an answer?
That is the question that Rep. Gohmert was trying to get answered Tuesday. His frustration with Holder was apparent when he referenced the "documents that the Department of Justice handed over to people convicted of supporting terrorism. They're terrorists. We've given them the documents, the Justice Department has."
According to Gohmert, it is apparent that "they are easily provided, just not to members of Congress."
He went on to explain:
"I still do not understand why your department can provide documents to terrorist lawyers... and not provide them to members of Congress. All I'm asking, again, is could we please get the documents that have been put on disks of the 96,000 summaries of transcripts and the documents that were produced to the terrorists, and not some link, but documents that you made available or your department made available to terrorists. I renew my request."Eric Holder told the representative that his department has given the committee what they promised. That is when the sparks began to fly.
Gohmert retorted, "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."
"You don't want to go there, Buddy," shot back an angry Holder. "You don't want to go there, ok?"
Really? The sarcasm dripped in Gohmert's response, "I don't want to go there? About the contempt?"
It was December 14, 2010, that U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed, and the Fast and Furious scandal became part of public conversation. Attorney General Eric Holder still has not answered the American people adequately after all this time.
The Texas Congressman is trying to get answers that are far too long in coming. How is it that Eric Holder releases documents to terrorists before releasing them to the oversight committees in Congress? Those committees are in place as part of the checks and balances in government that elementary school children learn about.
Rep. Gohmert reiterated his frustration to Attorney General Eric Holder: "Sir, we've been trying to get to the bottom of Fast and Furious where people died, where at least a couple of 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."
Holder sent a parting shot that many in the media have picked up on: "Good luck with your asparagus." This was an allusion to a comment made by Gohmert to Holder last year when he alledgedly got tongue-tied in another heated debate with Eric Holder. The Blaze reports that Gohmert was actually quoting an old criminal attorney, Percy Foreman, when he would use levity to bring down hostility levels in the courtroom by saying, "I object, he's casting aspersions on my asparagus!" However, both the comment and the attention that it has garnered are a distraction from the very real issue at hand.
That issue is that Eric Holder seems to be showing contempt for the very people that he was appointed to serve by continually evading questions about Fast and Furious. When terrorists get documents from the Justice Department before Congress does, Holder's contempt is especially concerning. That is a problem.
[images via Bing]