President Barack Obama is coming to the defense of his friend the Attorney General, saying Thursday that Eric Holder has his “complete confidence” following an inspector general report detailing the failed investigation known as Fast and Furious.
“I will tell you that Eric Holder has my complete confidence because he has shown himself to be willing to hold accountable those who took these actions,” Obama said at a forum in Florida Thursday.
The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General released a 471-page report Wednesday, detailing its 19-month investigation of the gun trafficking investigation that the attorney general has since called “fatally flawed.” It found a number of individuals at fault, and placed most of the blame with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix and with the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The Inspector General found no evidence that Holder authorized or approved of guns being allowed to “walk” over the border into Mexico in an attempt to catch high-level cartel members. It also found Holder was unaware of the investigations controversial tactics until after it had been shut down. The attorney general announced one resignation and one retirement following the report’s release, and he said some pinpointed in the report will be referred for possible discipline.
“I think it’s important for us to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration,” Obama said. “When Eric Holder found out about it, he discontinued it. We assigned an inspector general to do a thorough report that was just issued, confirming that in fact Eric Holder did not know about this, that he took prompt action and the people who did initiate this were held accountable.”
Some GOP lawmakers are still unhappy with the Attorney General’s handling of the scandal’s aftermath, with two members putting out a call for his resignation on Thursday.