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Here We Go Again: House GOP Threatens to Impeach Attorney General Eric Holder

Eric HolderDemonstrating that they are infused with almost as much hatred for Attorney General Eric Holder as they have for President Obama, a group of hard-line conservative House Republicans will introduce a resolution on Thursday calling for Holder’s impeachment.

The move comes more than a year after the House GOP held Holder in contempt of Congress because he refused to give them all the documents they wanted in the Fast and Furious ATF controversy.

While House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has given no indication that he has any interest in taking up the impeachment measure, Republicans in the House once again are demonstrating their unique ability to preoccupy themselves with political issues that have little to do with the betterment of living conditions for the average American.

Just when they had the president reeling over the bungled rollout of Obamacare, Republicans are finding a way to distract Americans with another issue that will have the public rolling its eyes at the cluelessness of their political leaders.

The effort is being led by Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas), who along with 10 other House Republicans — including Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Florida Rep. Ted Yoho — has drafted four articles of impeachment against Holder.

The allegations are a laundry list of all the issues that have obsessed Republican conspiracy theorists for most of Holder’s time in office. They include allegations that Holder violated federal law by refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena over the botched Fast and Furious gun-walking program; that he “failed to enforce multiple laws, including the Defense of Marriage Act, the Controlled Substances Act, and the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986”; he did not prosecute IRS employees over allegations the agency improperly handled the applications for nonprofit status by conservative political groups; and he misled Congress over whether he was aware of a search warrant issued for the emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen.

“This was not a decision that I made lightly,” Olson said in a statement. “Since the House voted in 2012 to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, the pattern of disregard for the rule of law and refusal to be forthright has only continued. The American people deserve answers and accountability. If the attorney general refuses to provide answers, then Congress must take action.”

In June 2012, the House of Representatives followed through on its threat to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over additional documents beyond the more than 7,600 he had already given to them in the botched ATF Fast and Furious Operation. On the same day, led by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Black Caucus, 108 members of Congress staged a walk out of the House in protest.

The contempt measure passed 255-67, with 17 Democrats voting for contempt with the Republican majority and two Republicans, Reps. Steven LaTourette of Ohio and Scott Rigell of Virginia, voting against it. It was the first time in Congressional history that the body voted to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt.

In his response to the vote, Holder read a statement that accused Rep Darrell Issa, head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the engineer behind the contempt vote, of being “focused on politics over public safety.”

“Instead of trying to correct the problems that led to a series of flawed law enforcement operations, and instead of helping us find ways to better protect the brave law enforcement officers, like Agent Brian Terry, who keep us safe — they have led us to this unnecessary and unwarranted outcome,” Holder said. “I had hoped that congressional leaders would be good-faith partners in this work. Some have. Others, however, have devoted their time and attention to making reckless charges—unsupported by fact—and to advancing truly absurd conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, these same members of Congress were nowhere to be found when the Justice Department and others invited them to help look for real solutions to the terrible problem of violence on both sides of our Southwest border. That’s tragic, and it’s irresponsible. The problem of drugs and weapons trafficking across this border is a real and significant public safety threat—and it deserves the attention of every leader in Washington.”

The vote was a chance for Republicans to exact revenge on Holder for his outspokenness and his willingness to challenge them on their attempts to restrict voting rights across the country to lower voter participation among people of color.

It was also about the National Rifle Association flexing its political muscle, in effect threatening Republicans and some Democrats into voting for contempt, under a bizarre theory that the ATF case was an effort by the Obama administration to ratchet up public support for gun control.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) was noncommittal on whether he planned to move forward with the resolution, although he did say that Holder should resign for the good of the Justice Department.

“Under Attorney General Holder’s watch, there has been a lack of leadership and a politicization of the Justice Department. Scandals from the Fast and Furious gunwalking operation to the seizure of reporters’ emails and phone records in national security leaks investigations have undermined the department’s credibility and the American people’s trust. Attorney General Holder has also politicized the rule of law by refusing to enforce laws he doesn’t like.”

Goodlatte added: “The only way to restore credibility at the Department of Justice is through an improvement in the quality of leadership. President Obama should make a change in the leadership of the Department of Justice to restore the confidence of the American people in our nation’s top law enforcement agency.”

While a Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the impeachment resolution, Matthew Miller, a former top Holder aide as DOJ, told Politico it was laughable.

“The first thing I’d say is that I can’t believe they didn’t include Benghazi and the Black Panthers because this is a list of every other Republican bugaboo and conspiracy theory,” said Miller, now a communications consultant on K Street.

“The best thing that could happen to Democrats would be for Republicans to bring this up. The more time they spend on this, the crazier and more out of touch they would look.”

No Cabinet officer has been impeached by the House since Secretary of War William Belknap was impeached in March 1876, but later acquitted on all charges at trial.

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One thought on “Here We Go Again: House GOP Threatens to Impeach Attorney General Eric Holder

  1. Real Daug says:

    If enough Democrats think that impeaching Holder or Obama will help their chances of being re-elected in the election of 2014 they may try impeachment.

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