Lost Composure at Holder House Hearing Highlights Overlooked Dramatic Moment

Paging Tonya Reiman!

She is the Fox News Channel body language expert who frequently appears on The O'Reilly Factor. Reiman would have a field day analyzing  the bizarre body, facial, and hand twitchings of Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich who sat behind Attorney General Eric Holder as he was being grilled by Representative Sandy Adams about personal emails that Holder might have sent or received on the topic of Operation Fast & Furious. Incredibly, even though this was easily the most dramatic moment in both form and substance of the hearing, and possibly all these Fast & Furious hearings, it was completely overlooked by the media as you can check for yourself in Google News.

The fireworks begin at the 4:50 mark in this video and the bizarre Weich body language follows the 5:00 mark. Also note the frequent audible "throat clearings" by Weich who twice rises out of his seat:

Here is a transcript of this part of the questioning by Adams as Welch continues rocking his body behind the right shoulder of Holder. This was followed by extreme hand wringing on the part of Welch:

Rep. Sandy Adams (R, FL): …let me ask you another question, because one of my colleagues asked you about your e-mails and you went straight to your work e-mail. Hardly anybody has that. I’m going to ask you a very direct question. You have a personal e-mail account. Did you at any time – at any time – e-mail on your personal account with Lanny Breuer – or Lanny Breuer and Gary Grindler in regards to Fast and Furious ever?

Attorney General Eric Holder: Ever?

Adams: Yes…

(CROSSTALK)

Judiciary Chair Lamar Smith (R, TX): The gentlewoman is recognized for an additional minute so the attorney general can respond to her questions.

Holder: I don’t know. I can tell you that I didn’t know…

(CROSSTALK)

Adams: Would you check and get back with us? If you need some help, I’m sure that your agency personnel can get into those computers.

Holder: Well, with regard to provision of e-mails, I thought I’ve made it clear that after February the 4th it is not our intention to provide e-mail information consistent with the way in which the Justice Department has always conducted itself. The exception that I made, that I made in the hope that the Justice Department would be seen as transparent was to go against that tradition and to make available deliberative material around the February 4th letter.

(CROSSTALK)

Adams: So, again, as in when you were here before and I asked you about a totally different issue, you were saying that you refused to provide that information, is that correct?

Holder: I didn’t hear the – you were talking the same time I was talking. And, please, she can have more time. I don’t – I don’t want to cut off your time. I’m – I just didn’t hear the question.

Adams: Previously, in another committee, when you were here earlier I asked you another question, you said you would not answer that question. Now you’re saying that you won’t provide those e-mails because that’s not consistent with whatever policy was previous. I’m asking you, if there is clean hands here, will you provide those e-mails to this committee…

Holder: As I said…

Adams: … yes or no?

Holder: … I’m going to act in a way that’s consistent with all attorneys general before me.

Adams: That’s not my question, Attorney General.

(CROSSTALK)

Adams: I – you know, with due respect, that was not my question. I asked you, with clean hands, would you supply those e-mails, whether it’s work-related or personal e-mails, as they apply to anything that had to do with and to this committee, yes or no?

Holder: And as I said – as I said, with regard to the Justice Department as a whole…

Adams: I yield back.

Holder: And I am…

(CROSSTALK)

Adams: Mr. Chair, I’m not going to get the answer…

(CROSSTALK)

Holder: … with regard to the Justice Department as a whole – and I’m certainly a member of the Justice Department – we will not provide memos after February the 4th. And that is a way in which we are…

Adams: With regards to e-mails, I didn’t ask memos, I said e- mails.

Holder: E-mails, memos – consistent with the way in which the Department of Justice has always conducted itself in its interactions…

(CROSSTALK)

Adams: What about prior to February 4th?

Smith: The gentlewoman’s time has – the answer was no, is that correct, Mr. Attorney General?

Holder: No, but consistent with the way in which the Justice Department has always conducted itself. This is not something that I am making up in terms of new policy.

Smith: I know, but you used the word “not.” I took “not” to be no.

Holder: Oh, I said no.

Smith: OK.

Holder: I’m saying no. But, again, consistent with DOJ policy.

Although Holder's refusal to directly answer whether or not he had communicated  via personal email about Operation Fast & Furious to Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer or his Chief of Staff Gary Grindler has been completely overlooked in the regular media, RedState has focused in on this moment like a laser beam complete with this analysis by Moe Lane:

…Now, I am not a lawyer; but that sounds to me a whole lot like the Attorney General tacitly admitting that there are personal emails originating from him and sent to Lanny Breuer (Assistant AG; admitted knowing of Operation F&F in April 2010) & Gary Grindler (Holder’s Chief of Staff: possibly briefed on Operation F&F in March 2010) that discuss Operation Fast & Furious. Now, I understand that AG Holder is trying to use the old Jesuit tactic of “I am not a priest and if I were I would lie to you about it:” specifically, that he doesn’t remember any emails and if there were he wouldn’t give them to the Judiciary committee anyway. Whether or not that tactic will be permitted to work depends on whether the the Judiciary committee is willing to accept that a Justice Department that went out and got cops killed is really qualified to do its own internal vetting.

Meanwhile we now await the rest of the media to catch up with RedState in understanding the significance of the evasion by Eric Holder on this topic. Oh, and can someone please give Ronald Weich a Tums? Or was that a Maalox Moment?

P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick is a freelance writer and creator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog.