Many Democrats in Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have shifted their standards of the attorney general since former President Obama and his Eric Holder, attorney general, were in office.
Democrats have called for Attorney General Barr’s resignation following his testimony before the Senate on Wednesday, including Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.
In her press conference Thursday morning, Nancy Pelosi also came down hard on AG Barr, claiming it was “sad” to see the attorney general “withholding the truth from the Congress of the United States.”
“I really lost sleep last night after watching over and over again the testimony of the attorney general of the United States,” she said. “How sad it is. How sad it is for us to see the top law enforcement officer in our country misrepresenting, withholding the truth from the Congress of the United States.”
She claimed that withholding information from Congress was a crime. Pelosi told reporters that she would allow the committees to decide if they want to move forward to pursue the criminal element against AG Barr.
Pelosi and her House Democrats have been anxious about their investigations into AG Barr, clearly seeing it as a vital part of their role in Congress to provide oversight of the executive branch.
For Nancy Pelosi, however, that hasn’t always been the case.
Back in 2012, Holder was found to be in contempt of Congress after refusing to turn over the documentation about the “Fast and Furious” scandal — a Department of Justice operation that allowed illegal gun sales to Mexican drug cartels in hopes that they could trace the guns to make arrests.
They were able to trace the weapons, but two of the guns were used to kill Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Instead of coming clean about the botched operation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) buried the story until a whistle-blower blew its cover.
When Congress demanded answers from Holder and the DOJ, he refused and was held in contempt of Congress. 17 Democrats voted with the Republican-controlled majority, at the time. Pelosi was not among them.
Although present-day Pelosi lost sleep over the idea that AG Barr may have withheld information from Congress, she was outraged when Republicans held Holder in contempt for doing the same exact thing. Pelosi even led a walkout protest during the 2012 vote while chanting “shame on you.”
Here you can watch Nancy Pelosi’s reaction to Holder’s contempt charge:
Pelosi, who was the minority leader at the time, called the investigations and resulting contempt charge against Holder “frivolous” and a personal attack on him.
“To frivolously use that really important vehicle to undermine the person who’s assigned to stop the voter suppression in our country. I’m telling you, this is connected. It is no accident. […] It’s not only to monopolize his time, it’s to undermine his name.” she said.
Her past self also questioned why Republicans were focused on going after Holder when they should be focused on job development and many other important issues.
Pelosi’s current self has under fire for not getting much done in the first 100 days as House Democrats continue to focus on pushing investigations into the Trump administration.
“What we have seen is a shameful display of abuse of power by the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Instead of bringing job-creating legislation to the floor — the transportation bill — they are holding the attorney general of the United States in contempt of Congress.”
Pelosi’s views on the role of congressional oversight and the attorney general have clearly shifted since her party was in office and AG Holder, who described himself many times as Obama’s wing-man, was the top law enforcement officer in the United States.