Last month, more than 75 Republicans in the House of Representatives joined the effort to pass legislation on ousting scandal-plagued Attorney General Eric Holder (shown), bringing the total number of representatives seeking his immediate resignation to over 130. Even some Democrats have added their voices to the growing chorus. The myriad scandals surrounding the Obama administration, meanwhile, continue to escalate as the president tries to deflect accountability.
The bid to oust disgraced Attorney General Holder began about two years ago following explosive whistleblower revelations regarding Operation Fast and Furious. The federal program, which was eventually exposed in Congress and the media by brave ATF agents, put thousands of weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
Official documents later revealed that the resulting violence – hundreds of Mexicans and at least two U.S. federal agents were killed with Fast and Furious guns – was being used to advance gun control in America. While much of the media tried to portray the deadly operation as a “botched” investigation, it also emerged later that the two supposed “drug lords” and “targets” being “investigated” were on the FBI’s payroll.
After Congress found out about the scheme, Holder lied on numerous occasions, and he continues trying to cover up the crimes by refusing to hand over subpoenaed documents to congressional investigators. In June of 2012, the attorney general was even held in criminal contempt of Congress on a bipartisan vote, giving him the dubious distinction of being the first sitting Cabinet member in U.S. history to face such charges.
Now, congressional investigators on the House Judiciary Committee are also exploring whether or not Holder committed perjury when he falsely told lawmakers that he had never been involved in the prosecution of journalists. “This is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy,” Holder responded on May 15 when asked about spying on journalists.
More than a few Republicans have hinted that the attorney general could have been deliberately lying under oath – a very serious crime. Judiciary Committee chief Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) recently said his panel was “very concerned” about the possibility. Allegations of perjury from Holder’s previous bogus testimony on the gun-running scandal have not died down either.
“The media reports and statements issued by the Department regarding the search warrants for [Fox News reporter] Mr. Rosen’s emails appear to be at odds with your sworn testimony before the Committee,” Republican lawmakers wrote recently in a letter to Holder. “We believe – and we hope you will agree – it is imperative that the Committee, the Congress and the American people be provided a full and accurate account of your involvement in and approval of these search warrants.”
In response to the coverup and the lies surrounding Fast and Furious, meanwhile, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) again introduced a resolution in January to force Holder out of office. The legislation “expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that Congress has lost confidence in the Attorney General and calls for his immediate resignation.” At least 76 lawmakers signed on just in the month of June.
In an interview with The Hill, Rep. Gosar said the latest revelations about Holder’s Justice Department spying on reporters from the Associated Press and Fox News have helped increase support for the measure. “Americans have lost faith in our chief law enforcement officer,” the congressman said. “He’s contradicted himself in front of Congress.”
Other Republicans cited concerns over the veracity of Holder’s recent claims to Congress on prosecuting journalists as a major factor in the growing support for his ouster. Indeed, when it emerged earlier this year that the attorney general had approved the spying and that the Justice Department named a Fox News reporter as a potential “co-conspirator,” outrage grew on both sides of the aisle as accusations of perjury began flying again.
Even the establishment media, which for years has been accused by critics of running cover for the administration, expressed misgivings about the espionage aimed at journalists. Combined with other major scandals – IRS targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups, NSA spying, Benghazigate, extrajudicial assassinations, potential perjury, and more – the general public was also upset, according to polls. More than two-thirds of Americans say the federal government is “out of control” and a threat to basic liberties.
Some Democrats have also recently suggested that Holder should consider resigning. “Whenever you feel that you have lost your effectiveness or may be losing your effectiveness to the detriment of the job that you do… you have to evaluate that and make a decision,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “And I think we’re at the time now where decisions have to be made.”
In the wake of revelations that Holder had approved spying on journalists, far-left commentators have joined the growing chorus calling for his resignation, too. Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, for example, said on Twitter last month that the attorney general “should’ve resigned or been dismissed after the AP overreach. Instead he made a Fox News figure a martyr.”
The president, however, who has also been mired in controversy and major scandals, continues to defend the attorney general, recently saying that he has “complete confidence in Eric Holder.” Some analysts argue that Obama’s “confidence” in the disgraced Justice Department boss is actually an effort to help deflect attention and responsibility from the White House itself by keeping the spotlight on lower-level minions.
Of course, even though some of Obama’s most loyal supporters have turned on Holder, not everybody thinks the attorney general should be allowed to just resign and quietly disappear from public life. More than a few analysts have said in recent months that the attorney general should be indicted for a wide array of serious crimes that could land Holder in jail for a long time.
Former judge and current Fox News legal analyst Jeanine Pirro recently compiled a list of crimes for which she said Holder should be prosecuted. Among them: perjury, knowingly making false statements, aiding and abetting crimes in the Fast and Furious scandal, obstruction of justice, misprision of a felony for failing to stop gun-running, and finally, conspiracy to provide guns to Mexican cartels.
Ex-congressman Allen West, meanwhile, suggested that Holder was a bigger threat to America than al Qaeda. “I’ve been warning for a long time that there may be a day we wake up and America is no longer America,” said West. “The more time Eric Holder spends as Barack Obama’s right hand man, the closer we are to this day. We must stop this dangerous duo today.”
Some reports, citing public statements made by members of Congress, have noted that there are ongoing discussions among lawmakers about potentially trying to impeach Holder. Among the serious possible crimes cited by analysts are at least the two possible counts of perjury – one in testimony about spying on journalists, the other from lies told under oath about Fast and Furious.
Other major scandals cited by critics of Holder: Coming up with bogus legal arguments for assassinating Americans without charges or trial; approving lawless activities including gun-running to drug cartels; getting caught on video advocating a plan to “brainwash,” in his words, the American people into opposing gun rights; assaulting states’ rights and sovereignty; and more. The Justice Department chief has also infuriated a sizeable portion of Obama’s own base by persecuting medical-marijuana users and providers even more aggressively than the George W. Bush administration in states where it is legal.
Whether Holder will resign or face criminal prosecution in the near future remains to be seen. What is clear at this point, however, is that the growing storm of serious scandals emanating from Washington, D.C., and the Obama administration in particular has most Americans fed up with the federal government. Those trends are likely to continue accelerating – at least until criminals in government who defy their oaths of office are held accountable.