Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez told The Daily Caller on Tuesday that he thinks “it’s much too early” for him to call for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation over Operation Fast and Furious, but that he’s watching the congressional investigation closely and may do so soon.
“I agree, for the loss of life, for our fine men and women as well as possibly hundreds of Mexican nationals, in this war against drugs and against the cartels,” Gutierrez said in an interview on Capitol Hill. “And, I think that mistakes should be looked at, evaluated and ultimately, those that are responsible — but I don’t think we’re there yet. I don’t have all of the answers. I don’t have all of the information. I would hope that those that have already rushed to judgment, which I don’t want to do, with the Attorney General — He’s going to come and testify, I’m going to listen to that testimony.”
Gutierrez also made a conditional call for Holder’s resignation, indicating that if he’s convinced Holder knew of Operation Fast and Furious, and misled Congress, he thinks Holder should resign.
“I assure you that if I find that he, with knowledge and premeditation and foresight, was totally irresponsible, then he should leave,” Gutierrez said. “But, I don’t think we’re there yet. And, I think that there has been a lot of political machinations around this. And, you know, a lot of people have died. A lot of blood has been shed. Mistakes are made. We should hold accountable all of those that make mistakes.”
Even so, Gutierrez thinks the congressional Republicans demanding Holder’s resignation are playing politics and targeting Holder. “We shouldn’t use peoples’ lives and deaths for political expediency or political opportunism,” he said. “I think it has been very clear that the Republicans are doing exactly that.”
There are currently 52 congressmen, two senators, four presidential candidates and two sitting governors demanding Holder’s immediate resignation. (RELATED: The Daily Caller’s complete Fast and Furious coverage)
Gutierrez talked to TheDC at a Congressional Hispanic Caucus event on Tuesday. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ chairman, soon-to-be-retired Texas Democratic Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, told TheDC he thinks Holder’s being targeted unfairly and shouldn’t resign.
“No, I don’t think the attorney general should be stepping down,” Gonzalez said. “And, the truth is, I think there was a lot of information about Fast and Furious — I’m from the state of Texas, obviously, you know we may be in the very middle of some of the transactions that have been at issue. I think the attorney general, to the extent that he knew something, has been forthright. But, they’re never going to satisfy some of the questions that are being posed because my own personal view is that you’re always trying to extract political advantage from these things.”
Gonzalez added that even if Holder knew of Operation Fast and Furious and was aware of its details, he doesn’t think Holder should personally be held accountable because he’s “at the top” of the organization.
“You can never expect that the person at the very top, who may have some knowledge of the operation, is going to be there for the day to day operations and the intricacies and the carrying out of the specific aspects of it,” Gonzalez said. “I mean, I was a lawyer at one time, I was a judge at one time, and I understand the nature of these things — but I do think the attorney general has an obligation to be completely forthright with the Congress. The Congress also has an obligation to do this in good faith, not to expect political advantage, and let’s see where we went wrong, but how can we improve on the tracing of weapons — which we already know the vast majority of weapons with the criminal cartels in Mexico actually came from the United States and a number of specific states.”
Gonzalez said that it’s the “people on the ground” who are “in charge” and he thinks they should be the ones held accountable.