Holder to Gohmert on Contempt: ‘You Don’t Want to Go There, Buddy’
“You don’t want to go there, buddy. You don’t want to go there, okay?” Holder told Gohmert.
At issue was a request for documents in the DOJ’s case against the Holy Land Foundation, a designated terrorist group based in Texas, whose founders were convicted and sentenced for funneling money to Hamas.
The men are now asking for a new trial, blaming their lawyers for their convictions. In February, the DOJ disputed their attorney’s claim, saying there was a “mountain of evidence” that proves the Islamic charity was controlled by Hamas.
“I was fairly specific to make sure that I got the documents that the Department of Justice handed over to people convicted of supporting terrorism. They’re terrorists. We’ve given them the documents,” Gohmert said.
Gohmert said the committee sent the Justice Department repeated requests for the documents that had been used to prosecute them but were only provided a link to “nearly 500 publicly available exhibits that were admitted into evidence” and instructed “to check the public access to court electronic records.”
Meanwhile, the requested documents were “put on discs and sent to Illinois,” so they are easily available – “just not to members of Congress,” Gohmert said.
“Attorney General, I’ve read in the 5th Circuit opinion, about 9600 summaries of transcripts of conversations that the Justice Department had that were made available to attorneys for the terrorists,” Gohmert said. “I still do not understand why your department can provide documents to terrorists’ lawyers, and many of them to four out of eight of the terrorists, and not provide them to members of Congress.”
“Sir, I’ve read you what your department promised, and it is inadequate, and I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important that we have proper oversight,” Gohmert said.
Holder: “You don’t want to go there, buddy. You don’t want to go there, okay?”
Gohmert: “I don’t want to go there?”
Gohmert: “About the contempt?”
Holder: “You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me. I think that it was inappropriate. I think it was unjust, but never think that that was not a big deal to me. Don’t ever think that.”
Gohmert: “Well I’m just looking for evidence, and normally we’re known by our fruits, and there have been no indications that it was a big deal, because your department has still not been forthcoming in producing the documents that were the subject of the contempt.”
Holder: “The documents that we were prepared to make available then, we’re prepared to make available now that would have obviated the whole need. This was all about the gun lobby and a desire to have a—
Gohmert: “Sir, we’ve been trying to get to the bottom of Fast and Furious where people died, where at least a couple hundred Mexicans died, and we can’t get the information to get to the bottom of that, so I don’t need lectures from you about contempt, because it is very difficult to deal with asking questions.”
Holder: “And I don’t need lectures from you either.”
Gohmert: “As a former judge, I’d never have asked questions of someone who’s been held in contempt. We waited ‘til the contempt was purged, and then we asked questions.”