Attorney General Eric Holder made history last week as the first Cabinet member to be cited for contempt of Congress. But if the Capitol Hill lawmakers calling for his resignation think he will go quietly into the night, they are mistaken. In an interview with The Washington Post on Monday, Holder hit back at his critics whom he says are using him as a "proxy" to attack President Obama.
"I've become a symbol of what they don't like about the positions this Justice Department has taken," he said. "I am also a proxy for the president in an election year. You have to be exceedingly naive to think that vote was about … documents."
Last Thursday the House voted largely by party line to hold him in criminal and civil contempt for refusing to turn over documents related to internal deliberations on the failed Operation Fast and Furious gun tracking program. Holder has argued that the House Oversight Committee, which is conducting an investigation into the program, is asking for information that if made public would jeopardize ongoing investigations and the prosecution of criminal cases and President Obama supported him by asserting executive privilege over the documents.
In addition to the controversial operation, congressional Republicans have cited Holder's efforts to stem new laws that critics say would suppress voters in certain demographic groups, including African-Americans and young adults as a reason why he should step down. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at her weekly press conference said that "it is as clear as can be" that Republicans are trying to "undermine" him for opposing voter suppression laws, which is why they moved forward with the contempt votes. Although the criminal measure will not be enforced, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa can still pursue civil action against Holder.
The attorney general told The Post that he has no intention of allowing "Issa and his band" who've been "nipping at his heels" to deter him from doing his job.
"If anything, it made me more determined to stay and to continue to fight for the things that I think are important," he said.
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(Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)