GOP senator: White House claims about document handover are 'hogwash'

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said comments made by the White House claiming the administration has given Congress every document related to Fast and Furious are “hogwash.”

Grassley’s remarks come as two more senators on Thursday joined the ranks calling for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over his handling of the botched gun-tracking operation and refusal to give Congress related documents, which spurred a House panel to vote this week to hold the nation’s top cop in contempt of Congress. 

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White House spokesman Jay Carney on Thursday vehemently defended President Obama’s decision to assert executive privilege over the documents and said the administration has given Congress everything related to Fast and Furious.

“Every document related to the Fast and Furious operation has long since been provided to congressional investigators,” said Carney to reporters.

“Every piece of documentation that relates to the operation itself, if the interest here is in the operation, how it came about, its origination, how it was approved, why such a flawed tactic was employed, that has been provided to congressional investigators.”

But Grassley, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the lawmaker who launched Congress’s probe of Fast and Furious, said that simply wasn’t true.

“His statement that the administration has ‘provided Congress every document that pertains to the operation itself’ is hogwash,” said Grassley. 

“Through my investigation, I know there are reams of documents related to ‘the operation itself’ that the Justice Department has refused to turn over to Congress."

The furor between the White House and Capitol Hill Republicans continued to rise in the upper chamber on Thursday as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a leading front-runner for the GOP vice presidential ticket, and Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) both called for Holder’s resignation.

“I think we’ve about reached the point of no return on this issue,” said Rubio at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast. “I think they’ve been given multiple opportunities to answer very legitimate questions that the Congress has.”

Rubio said yes when asked by a reporter whether he though Holder should step down.

There’s been a growing chorus of calls for Holder’s resignation in the House, where a measure expressing the chamber’s lack of confidence in the attorney general because of Fast and Furious has 114 co-sponsors. And Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) promised to hold a full vote on the contempt measure next week if Holder doesn't fork over the documents.

But the Senate has been comparatively silent, with only a handful of members calling for Holder to step down. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) made headlines last week when he told the attorney general to his face in a Senate committee hearing that he thought he should resign.

Coats became the latest senator to make such a call, when on Thursday he called attention not only to Holder’s role in Fast and Furious, but his refusal to appoint a special investigator to probe the recent series of national intelligence leaks to the press.

“I do not believe the attorney general has the level of support to provide the trusted leadership needed to investigate these damaging national-security breaches,” said Coats in a statement. “It is my belief that Attorney General Holder’s resignation is in the best interest of the American people.”

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