Sen. John Cornyn on Tuesday called upon Attorney General Eric Holder to resign in a heated exchange before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“It is more with sorrow than regret and anger that I would say that you leave me no alternative, than to join those who call upon you to resign your office,” the Texas Republican said.
”Americans deserve an attorney general who will be honest with them. They deserve an attorney general who will uphold the basic standards of political independence and accountability. You have proven time and time again, sadly, that you’re unwilling to do so. I’m afraid we have come to an impasse… you have violated the public trust, in my view.”
“With all due respect, there is so much factually wrong with the premises you started your statement with,” responded Holder. “I don’t have any intention of resigning. I heard the White House press officer say yesterday that the president has absolute confidence in me. I don’t have any reason to believe that in fact is not the case.”
Coynyn had up until now resisted calling for Holder’s resignation, but was one of 21 senators who voted against Holder’s confirmation as attorney general in 2009.
Cornyn cited several reasons for coming to this decision, including the investigation into the Fast and Furious operation and Holder’s handling of inquiries into leaks to the press.
“The leaking of classified information represents a major threat to national security, and your office faces a clear conflict of interest, yet you will not appoint a special counsel,” Cornyn told the attorney general. “Meanwhile, you still resist coming clean about what you knew and when you knew it with regard to Operation Fast and Furious. You won’t cooperate with the legitimate Congressional investigation, and you won’t hold anyone – including yourself – accountable.”
Cornyn also says that the Justice Department is preventing states from taking steps to prevent voter fraud, a reference to the DOJ’s opposition to the Florida state government’s attempts to remove ineligible voters from voter registration rolls.
As the Senate Judiciary Hearing continued, the Texas senator appeared on Fox News to explain his call for Holder’s resignation.
“He’s shown himself incapable of separating himself as an arm of the Obama administration and an independent attorney general that’s supposed to be the chief law enforcement [official] for the country,” Cornyn said.
“Unfortunately, [the call for resignation] has been the culmination of stonewalling by the attorney general on the investigation into Fast and Furious, but now culminating with his attempt to place an Obama campaign volunteer in the investigation of these leaks, these national security leaks that could well go to the very top of this administration,” he continued.