5 Things To Know About The Republican Witchhunt Against Attorney General Holder


Written by Ian Millhiser

In 2006, during the presidency of George W. Bush, the Justice Department launched the first of a series of misguided “gunrunning” schemes that eventually led to the death of federal Agent Brian Terry. Rather than look to ways to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, however, House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) spent his tenure as a committee chair trying unsuccessfully to embarrass Attorney General Eric Holder.

Next week, Issa plans to escalate this witchhunt by holding an committee vote on a resolution to hold the Attorney General in contempt of Congress. Here’s what you need to know about this vote:

1. Issa Has No Case: Issa’s uncovered no evidence showing Holder bears any blame for the botched operations begun under George W. Bush, even though the Justice Department turned over thousands of pages of documents concerning the operations. Instead of accepting this fact, Issa has requested many more documents containing confidential information regarding ongoing law enforcement investigations, and is now threatening to hold Holder in contempt if these documents are not turned over. Holder is entirely correct to withhold these documents, however, because Justice Department documents are not subject to congressional subpoena if they would reveal “strategies and procedures that could be used by individuals seeking to evade [DOJ's] law enforcement efforts.”

2. Reagan’s Justice Department Agreed With Holder: President Reagan’s Justice Department warned in the 1980s that the Constitution’s separation of powers prevents the kind of documents Issa is seeking from being revealed to Congress because of the risk that the legislature could “exert pressure or attempt to influence the prosecution of criminal cases.”

3. Law Enforcement Rejects Issa’s Witchhunt: Issa’s efforts to embarrass Holder are an unnecessary distraction that hinders the Department of Justice’s ability to do its real job. As an organization representing numerous senior law enforcement officials warned Issa, his efforts are “an impediment to the vigorous enforcement of violence and crime.”

4. Even Top Republicans Think Issa Goes Too Far: After Issa leaked his plans to pursue contempt charges to the media, the House Republican leadership pressured him to back off. Indeed, even House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has indicated that Issa is overreaching.

5. Issa Is Fixated On A Conspiracy Theory: Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of this affair is what Issa once suggested his investigation will uncover. In an interview with Sean Hannity, Issa claimed that the Obama administration “made a crisis” when they continued the Bush-era gunrunning operations because they wanted to “us[e] this crisis to somehow take away or limit people’s Second Amendment rights.” This accusation originates from a former militiaman who supports violent resistance to imagined government attempts to seize his guns. And it amounts to an accusation that a series of botched gun stings that begun during the Bush Administration were actually part of a secret Obama plot to release guns to Mexican drug lords, so that those guns could then be used to kill federal agents, which would then cause a national uprising in support of gun control.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


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Photo from Wikimedia Commons


Wayne W.
Wayne W5 years ago

"What significant "cause" or piece of legislation has he promoted during the past two years?"

•Obama has overhauled the food safety system
•Advanced women's rights in the work place
•Ended Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) in our military
•Stopped defending DOMA in court.
•Passed the Hate Crimes bill.
•Appointed two pro-choice women to the Supreme Court.
•Expanded access to medical care and provided subsidies for people who can't afford it.
•Expanded the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
•Fixed the preexisting conditions travesty [and rescissions] in health insurance.
•Invested in clean energy.
•Overhauled the credit card industry, making it much more consumer-friendly.
•While Dodd-Frank bill was weak in many respects, it was still an extremely worthwhile start at re-regulating the financial sector.
•He created a Elizabeth Warren's dream agency: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
•He's done a lot for veterans
•He got help for people whose health was injured during the clean-up after the 9/11 attacks.

A LONG List of President Obama's Accomplishments! With Citations!

Paul B., as the url says, please cut the crap, you don't know what you're talking about.

Wayne W.
Wayne W5 years ago

"He has never had one plan to reduce spending..."

Reduce spending in a recession? Are you out of your mind? The debt isn't even in the top 3 of our problems now. At these interest rates we'd be reckless not to borrow.

Even so:
Obama Offers Plan to Cut Deficit by Over $3 Trillion

Frances C.
Frances C5 years ago

Darrell Issa came into his new position with both guns blazing saying he was going to investigate everything he could. He is basically investigating Democrats. This bogus investigation of Mr Holder is nothing but a witch hunt. He has nothing but he is going too demand thousands and more thousands of papers hoping to find something, anything. Issa is a disgrace and should be stopped.

Betsy M.
Betsy M5 years ago

Let's disagree respectfully. (ya, i know, me too)
opposition-- someone who holds or belongs to a group that holds a different view
troll-- someone who posts off-topic, inflammatory messages to provoke emotional responses

Robert H.
Robert H5 years ago

High 5s Terrance

TERRANCE N5 years ago

The American people need to stop this partican loyalty to the democrats and republican party. Both parties argue with each other playing good cop bad cop while both parties have the American people between them in a threesome screwing us left and right.

Isn't it obvious that we the American people are the big losers? These politicians are mostly millionaire while we are being thrown out of our homes, our jobs are being sent oversea's for cheap labor, and our children are being shot in the street because of a stand your ground law invented by the corporations and politicians.

Forget about party affiliation. Stop giving them money. Demand that they account for the trillions of dollars of our treasury they have given to bank who destroyed our economy.

Lost Account
Past Member 5 years ago

Give me a break. The guy is as guilty as sin.

Frances C.
Frances C5 years ago

If Darrell cared about the corruption in the Country he should investigate the real crimes committed by so many in the financial world. It is UN American to try to stop people from exercising their right as US Citizens too vote. Issa should investigate the voter purging going on by some Governors. But he won't, they are tea party R's. Actually he should resign, he is not fit for the office he occupies.

ROLF P5 years ago

Holder is a lying anti gunner trying to blame Bush for his incompetence and the death of our agents. If he really thought the program was wrong why did he continue it? Because he thought it was going to work for him and his sick agenda!

Beth K.
.5 years ago

Paula M, your source is PJ Media. PJ Media is a media company and operator of an eponymous conservative opinion and commentary website.

In other words, a far right opinion site. Something a little more neutral and factual please?