Forty Republicans call for resignation of Eric Holder, Obama's attorney general

Forty Republicans sent a letter to President Obama on Thursday pushing him to ask for Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderFBI director defends agency after Trump attacks: It's an 'honor to represent you' FBI agents fire back at Trump: Saying we're not dedicated is 'simply false' Holder hits back at Trump: The FBI’s reputation is not in 'tatters' MORE’s resignation.

The letter, spearheaded by Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), highlights Holder’s role in the botched gun-tracking operation known as Fast and Furious, which was run under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). 

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Republicans have been investigating who authorized and had knowledge of Fast and Furious, which oversaw the sale of thousands of weapons in the Southwest region to known and suspected straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels. The majority of the weapons were never tracked, and two of the guns were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December. 

“We call on you today to hold Attorney General Eric Holder accountable for Operation Fast and Furious — and urge you to ask for his immediate resignation,” the letter reads.

“In intentionally letting over 2,000 firearms ‘walk’ across the border into Mexico,” it continues, “the [ATF] — under the leadership of Attorney General Holder — carried out an operation that left a U.S. Border Patrol agent dead, broke federal law and attempted to build a case for gun control. Operation Fast and Furious has proved to be one of the most serious errors in judgment carried out in recent history by a federal agency.”

After news about Fast and Furious erupted in the press, Holder requested an independent inspector general (IG) report, which is ongoing. Holder has said he will hold responsible the people involved in authorizing the operation.

The operational tactics used in Fast and Furious center around “gun walking,” which occurs when weapons are knowingly allowed into the hands of known or suspected criminals with no immediate effort to retake possession of the firearms. 

Walsh began circulating the letter on Tuesday and pointed to an interview that Obama did with ABC last month in which he promised to hold officials responsible for the bad decisions that led to Fast and Furious.

“We ask you to fulfill this promise to the American people because, like you, they are upset and deserve answers,” said the GOP letter to Obama. “They also deserve accountability on behalf of their federal officials, especially those who are unelected, like Holder.”

Holder is set to testify next month before the House Judiciary Committee about his role in the operation and will face a barrage of sharp questions from Republicans.

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Republicans are upset with the Justice Department for refusing to comply with portions of the subpoenas issued by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

They also question Holder’s previous testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in May, during which he said he found out about the operation several weeks before the hearing.

Last week, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder clarified that statement, saying that he became aware of Fast and Furious after it gained traction in the news media.

Republicans say Holder either knew about the operation and lied, or didn’t know about it and is incompetent. 

Holder has said he did not know about Fast and Furious and should not have been expected to, given the large number of operations that take place under the DOJ umbrella. In August, the acting head and deputy of the ATF were removed from office.

In addition to Walsh, the letter was signed by GOP Reps. John Mica (Fla.), Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.), Dan Burton (Ind.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Paul BrounPaul Collins BrounCalifornia lawmaker's chief of staff resigns after indictment Republican candidates run against ghost of John Boehner The Trail 2016: Let’s have another debate! MORE (Ga.), Mike Pompeo (Kansas), Cynthia LummisCynthia LummisFemale lawmakers flee House for higher office, retirement Despite a battle won, 'War on Coal' far from over Dems on offense in gubernatorial races MORE (Wyo.), Connie Mack (Fla.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Todd Akin (Mo.), Tim Huelskamp (Kansas), Jeff Landry (La.), Tim Murphy (Penn.), Steven Palazzo (Miss.), Dennis Ross (Fla.), John Carter (Texas), Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeSeven Texas lawmakers leaving Congress means a younger, more diverse delegation Clock ticking down on NSA surveillance powers Mounting GOP retirements threaten House majority MORE (Texas), Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), Kenny Marchant (Texas), Lynn Jenkins (Kansas), Quico Canseco (Texas), Charles BoustanyCharles William BoustanyTop Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns Controversial House Republican gains national attention after filming Auschwitz video Democrats, Republicans must work together to advance health care MORE (La.), Alan Nunnelee (Miss.), Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackRyan picks his negotiating team for tax cut bill Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him Lawmakers take to Twitter to spread the Thanksgiving cheer MORE (Tenn.), Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.), Allen West (Fla.), Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdConyers attorney: Congressman won't pay settlement back because it was 'cleared' Farenthold accuser: 'It's been a tough road’ Accuser says GOP lawmaker 'blackballed' her from finding another job after settling sexual harassment suit MORE (Texas), John Culberson (Texas), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), Steven Pearce (N.M.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.), Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksHouse forges ahead with Dec. 22 spending bill Conservatives fear end-of-year ‘Christmas tree’ spending bill Adoption tax credit restored after conservative backlash MORE (Ariz.), Louis Gohmert (Texas), Denny Rehberg (Mont.), Bob Latta (Ohio), Rodney Alexander (La.), Gus Bilirakis (Fla.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (Mo.) and Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesChances for government shutdown rising Controversial ‘hack back’ bill gains supporters despite critics Overnight Cybersecurity: Manafort, Gates to remain under house arrest | Mueller said to be closing in on Flynn | 'Hack back' bill gains steam | Election security gets attention from DHS MORE (Ga.).