Sensenbrenner: There have been inconsistent submissions to Congress. You yourself testified that you’d only heard about [Fast and Furious] a few weeks earlier, and then in November you said it probably was a few months. [And] as late as October 7th, in response to allegations that you lied on May 3rd, you wrote to Congress that your statements on Fast and Furious have been “truthful and consistent.” [Yet] one of your underlings, on Feb. 4th, Assistant A.G. Ronald Weich, responded to Senator Grassley denying that the ATF had walked guns and that letter ended up being withdrawn.
Clearly, Sensenbrenner was incensed as he thought of the lies surrounding Fast and Furious. So much so, in fact, that as he spoke he took pains to try to be measured in his speech:
Lying to Congress is a federal felony. I don’t want to say that you have committed a felony Mr. Attorney General, but obviously there have been statements so misleading that a letter had to be withdrawn. I think that some heads should roll.
At this point, an exchange took place that literally defies reality:
Holder: “Nobody in the justice department has lied.”
Sensenbrenner: “Then why was the letter withdrawn?”
Holder: “The letter was withdrawn because there was information in there that was inaccurate.”
As Holder continued to fumble in trying to frame his explanation for how the Feb. 4th letter contained “inaccurate” statements that weren’t lies, Sensenbrenner interrupted and asked, “What is difference between lying and misleading Congress in this context?”
Holder: “Well, if you want to have this legal conversation, it all has to do with your state of mind. And whether or not you had the requisite intent to come up with something that can be considered perjury or a lie.”
Holder might as well have said, “it depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” (I’m pretty sure that’s what Sensenbrenner and Issa heard him say.)
Holder Hearings Part Four: What Is Fast and Furious? Depends Upon What the Meaning of