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Holder to Gohmert: ‘Good luck with your asparagus’

During a three-and-a-half hour House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing Tuesday, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. kept his cool as he was questioned by 34 members of Congress about a wide variety of national and international issues.

But the normally soft-spoken attorney general lost his temper when Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Tex.) brought up the House contempt vote against Holder two years ago. Gohmert was questioning Holder about why he had not been provided documents that he had requested from the Department of Justice.

“I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general,” Gohmert said. “But it is important that we have proper oversight…”

“You don’t want to go there, buddy,” Holder interrupted, leaning back in his chair. “You don’t want to go there.”

“I don’t want to go there?” Gohmert said. “About the contempt?”

“No,” Holder said, pointing his finger at Gohmert. “You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me. I think it was inappropriate. I think it was unjust. But never think that that was not a big deal to me. Don’t ever think that.”

Holder went on to say that the contempt vote “was all about the gun lobby.”

“I don’t need lectures from you about contempt,” Gohmert said.

“And I don’t need lectures from you either,” Holder snapped.

Gohmert then tried to ask Holder a question about his  support for gay marriage, but his time was up.

As the chairman of the committee moved on to recognize another congressman, Holder had one more thing to say to Gohmert.

“Good luck with your asparagus,” Holder muttered.

It was a reference to a comment that Gohmert made at a House Judiciary Committee hearing last year where Gohmert said the Justice Department had failed to stop the Boston Marathon bombing. When Holder pushed back, Gohmert became annoyed and said, “The attorney general will not cast aspersions on my asparagus.”

It remains unclear whether Gohmert intended to say asparagus or if he meant something else.

Here's Gohmert's remarks from last year.

Sari Horwitz covers the Justice Department and criminal justice issues nationwide for The Washington Post, where she has been a reporter for 30 years.

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