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Mr. GOWDY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman.
This is a sad day, Mr. Speaker, for those of us who respect the rule of law as the foundation of this Republic, for those of us who proudly worked for the Department of Justice, for those of us who believe the same rules apply to everyone regardless of whether they live simple lives of peace and quiet or whether they live and work in the towers of power, prestige, and authority. The same rules apply to everyone. It is the greatness of this country, Mr. Speaker. It is the greatness, the elegance, the simplicity of a woman who is blindfolded holding nothing but a set of scales and a sword.
The chief law enforcement official for this country is on the eve of being held in contempt of Congress because he refuses to follow the law. He refuses to allow Congress to find the truth, the whole truth. For those of you who want a negotiation, a compromise, an extraordinary accommodation, to use the Attorney General's words, for those of you who want to plea bargain, my question to you is simply this: Will you settle for 75 percent of the truth? Is 50 percent of the truth enough for you? Is a third? Or do you want it all? Because if you want all the truth, then you want all the documents.
If you've ever sat down, Mr. Speaker, with the parents who have lost a child who has been murdered--and some of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have been there--it is a humbling, emotional, life-altering experience. All they want is the truth. They want answers. They want justice, and they don't want part of it. They want all of it. And I will not compromise, Mr. Speaker, when it comes to finding the truth.
Congress is right to pursue this no matter where it takes us. No matter which administration was in power and no matter what the facts are, we are right to pursue this. And we are wrong if we settle for anything less than all the facts.
To my colleagues who are voting ``no,'' Mr. Speaker, let me ask this: Can you tell me, can you tell the American people why the Department of Justice approved this lethal, fatally flawed operation?
To those of you who are voting ``no,'' can you tell the American people how the tactic of gunwalking was sanctioned?
To those of you who are voting ``no,'' can you tell Brian Terry's family and friends how a demonstrably false letter was written on Department of Justice letterhead on February 4, and where would we be if we accepted that letter at face value? A letter written on Department of Justice letterhead, that is not just another political Cabinet agency. It is emblematic of what we stand for as a country--truth, justice, the equal application of law to everyone. That letter was written on America's stationery. That is what the Department of Justice is, and it was dead wrong. And where would we be if we took their word for it?
Our fellow citizens have a right to know the truth, and we have an obligation to fight for it, Mr. Speaker, the politics be damned. We have a right to fight for it.
I wish the Attorney General would give us the documents. I would rather have the documents than have this vote on contempt of Congress. But we cannot force him to do the right thing, and that does not relieve us of the responsibility for us to do the right thing. Even if the heavens may fall, Mr. Speaker, I want the truth. I want all of it. We should never settle for less than all of it, and we have to start today.
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