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A top Senate Republican called on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign today, even as Holder said he was ready to make major concessions to Republicans investigating “Fast and Furious,” a botched gun-smuggling operation.
Holder, saying he wanted to avoid an “impending constitutional crisis,” told the Senate Judiciary Committee, “I am prepared to make compromises,” but “I’ve got to have a willing partner.”
However, Republicans in both chambers were in no mood to give quarter.
To start, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) called on Holder to resign at the Senate Judiciary hearing.
Citing the Fast and Furious scandal and recent national security leaks, Cornyn said, “It’s more with sorrow than with anger that I would say that you leave me no alternative then to join those that call upon you to resign your office.”
Holder pushed back, saying a long statement by Cornyn of Holder’s faults was “breathtaking in its inaccuracy” and that “I don’t have any intention of resigning.” Holder said he’d done far more to stop the controversial tactics at issue in Fast and Furious than officials in the George W. Bush administration had.
The remarks came one day after House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) scheduled a committee vote on holding Holder in contempt of Congress and established a clear universe of documents that Justice could provide to avoid that vote.
And the House’s top Republican, Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), said he would not meet with Holder until the attorney general gives in to Issa’s demands.
“The Speaker will meet with the attorney general when the attorney general complies with the reasonable, specific requests in the May 18 letter from House leaders and Chairman Issa,” a Boehner spokesman said.
Senate Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also provided new information about six wiretap applications that have become the latest point of dispute between Holder and Congressional Republicans who are investigating Fast and Furious.
Grassley said he had reviewed the applications, which are under court seal and have not been made public, and agreed with Issa, who said they showed top Justice officials had reviewed descriptions of controversial tactics at the heart of the investigation.
Holder and Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) have both said they reviewed the applications and disagree.
In Fast and Furious, agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed assault guns to “walk,” which meant ending surveillance on weapons suspected to be en route to Mexican drug cartels.