Attorney General Eric Holder accused Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) of making statements that were “grossly unfair,” after Gohmert implied that a U.S. Attorney declined to prosecute the Council On American-Islamic Relations for political gain.
Jim Jacks was the federal prosecutor in the trial over the Holy Land Foundation — a Muslim charity — in 2008. A jury convicted five men with ties to the group of providing material support to Hamas. Omar Ahmad, the founder of CAIR, and several other leaders of Islamic groups, were deemed unindicted co-conspirators and never charged.
In April , Rep. Peter King (R-NY) wrote a letter to the DOJ saying that he’d been “reliably informed” that the decision not to prosecute CAIR officials was “usurped by high-ranking officials at Department of Justice” and that prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Dallas objected.
Jacks, now a U.S. Attorney, told the Dallas Morning News that King was “misinformed. That did not happen.”
In a fiery exchange in Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, Gohmert suggested that Jacks’ comments to the Morning News were inconsistent with statements he’d made in court documents, and that he was changing his story for political gain. “I wonder which Mr. Jacks’s opinion we’re relying on,” Gohmert said. “The one that’s the interim [U.S. Attorney] or that possibly hopes to be nominated or stay in that position or the one that filed pleadings before the court.”
He asked Holder: “Is there anyone in your department who consulted with Mr. Jacks, or whoever made the decision before the decision was made, not to pursue any of the unidicted co-consiprators?”
Holder shot back that it’s “grossly unfair” for Gohmert to “cast aspersions on a person who I don’t know, who has served, I understand, the United States Department of Justice and the people of this country quite well for a good number of years. And you’ve implied that he would take a position in a case in order to maintain a position as an acting U.S. Attorney or to become the U.S. Attorney.”
“That’s a very unfair thing to do,” Holder added, “given the fact that I don’t think there’s any basis for the assertions that you have made.”
Gohmert angrily retorted: “Have you looked at the documents that were made available in this case before you say that I’m being unfair?”
“I don’t appreciate the allegation that I am making unfounded allegations,” he added.
Holder said that “the notion that the filing of something that says these people or organizations should be treated as unindicted co-conspirators is not inconsistent with the notion that there was no political pressure brought to bear on that decision. I don’t see how one necessarily affects the other.”
Then, he added: “I’m going to stick up for my people. That’s what I’m doing. I’m not going to let people who work in the United States Department of Justice have their characters assailed without any basis. That might be something that people in this committee feel is easily done. It’s not going to happen as along as I’m Attorney General of the United States. It’s not going to happen.”
Here’s the video: