Visibly unhappy about tomorrow’s scheduled contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder, MSNBC’s Rev. Al Sharpton invited Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) onto his show Wednesday only to call him a “conspiracy” theorist and shout over him as he answered questions about federal gun-walking operations “Fast and Furious” and “Wide Receiver.”
Sharpton began by asking Mica about previous statements he made about Fast and Furious being invented to impose stricter gun regulations and whether he thought the Obama administration was “hoping” for the resulting gun violence. Mica replied no, but stood by his assertion that the federal government was trying to find a way to increase gun control and blame drug cartel violence on guns sold in the U.S.
The Reverend then asked whether or not the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee believed Holder had specific knowledge about the gunrunning that took place and claimed the committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) had said the attorney general was not aware of the program.
What Issa actually said is that there is no evidence proving Holder or President Obama knew about the operation one way or another because the requested documents have not been turned over to Congress.
Mica echoed Issa, saying there was no way to determine how much knowledge Holder had because he has refused to provide the documents requested under a Congressional subpoena. Somehow, Sharpton interpreted his reply as an admission of the attorney general’s innocence and asked, “Well, then why are you trying to hold him in contempt if he may be innocent?”
“Because he is in contempt, he is in contempt of not providing us the documents,” Mica replied.
Following some additional crosstalk, things started getting a little more personal when the congressman from Florida accused Sharpton of “talking somewhat in circles.”
“No, I think y’all are talking in circles,” Sharpton said, referring to Republicans.
Sharpton then grilled Mica about the Bush-era gunrunning operation Wide Receiver, asking him why the House Oversight Committee hadn’t opened similar investigations to see if that too was a concocted plan to restrict gun rights in the United States. Mica admitted he didn’t know much about the program but humored the host anyway.
“First, I know no one was killed and secondly…” Mica started but was quickly interrupted before he could give an answer.
“You said you didn’t know much about them. How do you know they were done orderly?” Sharpton asked.
“Because we do not have reports of anyone being killed or maimed in these programs,” Mica explained. “What we were trying to do is track guns, that’s been done many times.”
But Sharpton wasn’t pleased with that answer, so he continued prying and asked pretty much the exact same question again and so he got pretty much the same answer.
“You started by saying you know very little about the committee and its amazing how you got to know more and more as we talked. Congressman John Mica thank you very much for your time tonight we’ll keep talking…” Sharpton said trying to end the segment, but this time Mica interrupted the host. It is likely that the host was trying to argue Micah knew very little about Wide Receiver not the House committee but misspoke.
“I know a great deal about the committee, I’ve been on it a long time and I certainly know more than what you are providing your viewers,” Mica added.
“I’m asking you questions, I think you’re the one that provided my viewers a lot to think about tonight,” Sharpton shot back.
“You’re questions are just going in circles…”
“Yeah, that’s right. We are circling the wagons around how very suspicious your selection of witnesses has been,” Sharpton said.
“It’s a good attempt to blur the issue tonight, but I’m afraid you haven’t succeeded,” Mica said.
Watch all of the tense interview via MSNBC here:
This story has been updated.