House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) in a House hearing on Thursday pressed Attorney General Eric Holder about the Justice Department’s response to a subpoena requesting information on the botched ATF operation known as “Fast and Furious.”
Issa said Holder was “not a good witness” and he was unsatisfied with Holder’s answer about whether DOJ had internally pulled material responsive to the subpoena. Issa said there was “hostility” between Holder and himself but Holder said he disagreed.
“With all due respect to Chairman Issa, he says there’s hostility between us, I don’t feel that, you know, I understand he’s asking questions, I’m trying to answer them as best I can. I’m not feeling hostile at all. I’m pretty calm. I’m okay,” Holder said.
Issa has threatened to pursue a contempt resolution against Holder but aides to House Speaker John Boehner (R) have been in discussions with the Justice Department in an attempt to resolve the matter without having House Republicans pursue contempt in an election year.
Fast and Furious was an operation in which agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) instructed gun dealers to sell weapons to individuals they suspected were “straw purchasers” for Mexican drug cartels. Two of the weapons were found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death. Holder has said he wasn’t aware that guns walked during Fast and Furious until reports became public in early 2011. The Justice Department has said the pursuit of contempt is “unwarranted,” “unprecedented” and “ill-advised.”