Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is calling for a Special Prosecutor to investigate whether the statements made by Attorney General Eric Holder in response to a question by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)were false.
Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today called for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate whether comments made by Attorney General Eric Holder during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in May 2011 were truthful. In a letter to President Obama, Chairman Smith expressed concern that Members of Congress may have been misled by the Attorney General’s response to a question regarding his knowledge of the Fast and Furious program. The Attorney General stated that the first time he had heard of the program was in the weeks leading up to the May 2011 hearing. But documents released on Friday night raise significant questions about the truthfulness of the Attorney General’s testimony.
Chairman Smith: “The Department’s consistent response to Congress has been that Operation Fast and Furious was a discrete law enforcement effort largely isolated to the ATF office in Phoenix. These documents appear to undermine this claim and bring into question statements made by Attorney General Holder to this Committee.
“Allegations that senior Justice Department officials may have intentionally misled Members of Congress are extremely troubling and must be addressed by an independent and objective special counsel. I urge you to appoint a special counsel who will investigate these allegations as soon as possible.”
The full letter from Smith to Obama can be found here.
Ed Morrissey at Hotair.com speculates that Obama will defy Congress and protect Holder rather than have a Special Prosecutor running wild amongst the emerging scandals of his “clean” administration.
Now Obama has to decide whether to defy Congress and create a precedent for protecting appointees who willfully mislead Congress, or submit to a special prosecutor that could run wild on his administration. I’m going to guess that Obama will defy the House, but that may not last very long, especially with Darrell Issa probing Solyndra and other potential scandals.
Fox News is also on this story. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) met with Holder on January 31st in Grassley’s office. At that time, Grassley gave him a letter with details on the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious. Grassley, saying he isn’t a lawyer, won’t speculate on whether Holder perjured himself but did add:
“But I can tell you this. They’re doing everything they can, in a fast and furious way, to cover up all the evidence or stonewalling us. But here’s the issue, if he didn’t perjure himself and didn’t know about it, the best way that they can help us, Congressman Issa and me, is to just issue all the documents that we ask for and those documents will prove one way or the other right or wrong.”