DeLay Admits Speaking Too Soon About Elian Hearings

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( House Republican Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) denied Congress is bowing to public opinion polls, but admitted Thursday he may have spoken too soon by saying Congress should expeditiously conduct hearings into the federal government's seizure of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez at the home of his Miami relatives during Easter weekend.

"I have to admit I probably spoke too early by saying we need hearings and we need them right now. We need regular order and that's what we're doing. We're investigating," DeLay told an audience during a question and answer session at the National Press Club in Washington.

DeLay emphasized, "We're (Congress) not trying to interject ourselves into whether Elian ought to be with his father or in Miami with his relatives or go back to Cuba."

However, DeLay had strong criticism of Attorney General Janet Reno and the way the Elian matter was handled during Easter weekend in Miami.

"If the Attorney General had followed the lead of the INS, all of this would probably have been over," DeLay said. "But it's when she interjected herself into this process and tried to deny Elian his due process rights, she ended up raiding the private home of American citizens, and on a fraudulently obtained search warrant."

DeLay thinks Congress should investigate which laws, if any, were broken during the whole Elian Gonzalez case.

"We want to look at the process of the last five months - what laws have been broken. In my opinion, Janet Reno and the INS completely threw out traditional family child custody case law and decided by decree that they'll create their own rule of law," DeLay said.

DeLay also believes the raid on the home of Elian's Miami relatives raises constitutional questions as well.

"If you have one (view) that thinks they can define the law ... then the ends justify the means philosophy happens," DeLay said. "You invade a private home of American citizens, thus violating in no uncertain way, the fourth amendment to the constitution. The American people ought to be really concerned about that."