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Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, is blasting the Obama administration for the timing of the charges against surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzokar Tsarnaev.
He's also exasperated by what he considers Obama's tendency to downplay the threat posed by radical Islam and the relentless push for immigration legislation despite some issues that arose in the wake of the bombings.
Gohmert is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and is vice chair of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. He is flabbergasted by the Justice Department's decision to formally charge and read Miranda rights to Tsarnaev while he was cooperating with the FBI. Tsarnaev stopped talking as soon as his rights were read to him.
"If they never gave the Miranda warnings ever, the result would be that anything that he said after he was taken into custody might be subject to being excluded from evidence at the trial. If a prosecutor could not prove this guy guilty of numerous crimes that would put him behind bars for the rest of his life, then they're just not competent. So the concern was not about gathering evidence to use against him after he was picked up. The concern should have been to get more information about the threat against America," Gohmert said.
"I guess with our attorney general having spent more time before being AG trying to help terrorists than trying to corral them, the first impulse was let's get him to stop talking because they filed charges they didn't have to file that quickly. Somebody made sure the judge shows up with lawyers and gives him his rights and shuts him up, while he is in the process of giving invaluable information. It is unbelievable. If it's not bad enough that they bungled getting this guy picked up and his brother picked up and questioned before they blew up people in Boston, then now to get him to shut up when he has invaluable information potentially is just really egregious," he said.
Gohmert said Attorney General Eric Holder had to know that issuing Tsarnaev his Miranda rights at that point would only result in the defendant ending his cooperation with interrogators. He said it's just the latest head-scratcher from Holder and the Obama administration as a whole.
"Between the Department of Justice actions that resulted in people being killed in Fast & Furious, the result of this administration's backing al-Qaida-backed rebels to run out Ghaddafi so that then they end up killing our people there and then the people being killed in Algeria. I mean, one after another we've had incidents where this administration has shown incompetence. So it seems to be a real pattern," he said.
The congressman stressed that he is not accusing anyone in the administration of sinister motives, but he does believe Obama tries to diminish the threat posed to the U.S. by radical Islamists.
"It's very clear to everyone but this administration that radical Islam is at war against us. I'm hoping either this administration will wake up, or a new one will come in at the next election before irreparable damage is done," Gohmert said. "This administration has so many Muslim Brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong decisions for America."
The immigration process employed for the Tsarnaev brothers is also impacting the debate over proposed immigration legislation in the U.S. Senate. Critics of the Gang of Eight plan say more time is need to study how current law may have failed and whether the new bill would do much that's different. But defenders of the comprehensive reform approach, from Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., contend that the issue is just a distraction meant to slow down the progress of the legislation.
Gohmert said the right way forward on immigration law should be clear.
"The president has refused to do his job in securing the border. It's his obligation. He has an oath to fulfill. But he is holding off adequately securing the border until he can get what he wants. The right thing to do would be to say, 'Mr. President, enough. There are enough dead Americans from people who have been let in wrongly,'" he said. "Let them secure the border and we will have an agreement within a month that will be in law, but he has to do the job of making sure that we're secure in our persons and in our homes. He's going to need to make sure that people that come in, come in legally. Until he starts actually doing his job, there should be no discussion about doing anything with people who are here illegally," said Gohmert, who noted that there are several reforms that would attract widespread support once the border is secure.
Gohmert acknowledged that the Senate version of immigration reform has quite a bit of bipartisan support, but he said that was also the case with TARP – which he considers one of the worst things to happen to our economy. He said the momentum would change quickly if lawmakers would listen to the people who sent them to Washington instead of the political experts.
"You get people dutifully lining up, saying, 'Well, we're told this is what the people want.' Well, go talk to your state. Go talk to the people in your district. Don't be listening to CNN. Nobody's watching them," Gohmert said. "These people need to go home and talk to the people that live in their states and districts before they go rushing headlong into something that is not going to be good for America."