Cornyn speaks during a 2011 hearing (Charles Dharapak/AP)
"Mr. Attorney General, it's more with sorrow than ... anger that I would say that you leave me no alternative but to join those that call upon you to resign your office," the Texas Republican told Holder during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. "Americans deserve an attorney general who will be honest with them. They deserve an attorney general who will uphold the basic standards of political independence and accountability. You have proven time and time again, sadly, that you're unwilling to do so."
Cornyn, who also raised concerns about recent reports of national security leaks, said he hopes President Barack Obama will replace Holder with "someone who is up to that challenge."
Cornyn's unequivocal statements add to the growing chorus of congressional Republicans calling for Holder's resignation.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) announced Monday that the committee will vote June 20 on whether to hold Holder in contempt over his role in Operation Fast and Furious, which involved selling firearms with the hopes of tracking Mexican drug cartels. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) immediately backed the committee's decision to hold the vote.
Holder insisted during Tuesday's hearing—the ninth Congressional hearing at which he has testified—that he has no intention to resign: "I heard the White House press officer say yesterday that the president has absolute confidence in me. I don't have any reason to believe that in fact is not the case."
White House press secretary Jay Carney said during Monday's briefing that the president has "absolute confidence" in Holder.
Republicans have long been calling for Holder to be held accountable for Fast and Furious, a controversial operation in which a majority of the guns sold were never tracked, and some were later found at the scene of violent crimes. The vote on contempt stems from the Justice Department's failure to comply with a congressional request for documents related to the operation. The department has stated that the documents in quest are being withheld because they contain internal deliberations.
- Politics & Government
- Eric Holder
- Senate Judiciary Committee
- John Cornyn
- President Barack Obama