Ring of House Republicans to call for impeachment of Holder

Posted at 7:25 AM, Nov 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-14 09:25:20-05

By Ashley Killough

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A group of 11 House Republicans will introduce a resolution Thursday calling for the impeachment of Eric Holder, saying the Attorney General has lost credibility and trust over a string of issues in recent years.

The articles of impeachment, drafted by Rep. Pete Olson of Texas, faults the Attorney General for refusing to comply with a congressional investigation of the botched gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious,” led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

Last year, House Republicans voted to hold Holder in contempt for refusing to turn over documents tied to sting. The gun operation allowed illegal gun sales believed to be destined for Mexican drug cartels in order to track the sellers and purchasers.

But ATF lost track of an estimated 2,000 weapons, most believed to have ended up in Mexico and two of which turned up at the scene of a shooting in Arizona that killed U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

The impeachment resolution, a memo of which was provided to CNN, also accuses Holder of lying under oath before Congress in May, when he told lawmakers he had never been involved of any “potential prosecution of the press.”

However, it was later reported he signed off on the Justice Department’s decision to seek a search warrant in 2010 for Fox News reporter James Rosen’s private e-mails as part of a leak probe.

But after Holder explained in a letter that there was never any contemplation of charging Rosen, many House Republicans abandoned their push against Holder over the issue.

The small group of Republicans, many of whom have long been going after Holder, also blame Holder for failing to enforce multiple laws, including the Defense of Marriage Act, and for not prosecuting Internal Revenue Service officials in a case involving unauthorized access to tax records of political donors or candidates.

“This was not a decision that I made lightly,” Olson said in a statement. “The American people deserve answers and accountability. If the Attorney General refuses to provide answers, then Congress must take action.”

CNN reported last week that Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Florida, was highly involved in this new effort to try and impeach Holder.

It’s worth noting that GOP leadership has so far stood on the sidelines and not voiced support for the effort, and House Speaker John Boehner has not indicated he plans to bring the resolution to a vote, once it’s introduced.

Boehner never called on holder to resign, despite calls from rank and file members of the House. It’s also unlikely house GOP leaders would green light moving the legislation to the floor at a time when they are laser-focused on ripping Obamacare and just rebounded after the government shutdown.

This isn’t the first time hardline conservatives have floated the idea of impeaching Holder, who has long been the subject of conservative ire. In December 2011, Wisconsin GOP Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner told Holder that “heads should roll” over “Fast and Furious.”

“There is really no responsibility within the Justice Department,” Sensenbrenner said. “The thing is, if we don’t get to the bottom of this – and that requires your assistance on that – there is only one alternative that Congress has and it is called impeachment.”

Sensenbrenner, however, has since made up with Holder — he recently joined Holder at a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation gathering to try to find a way to resuscitate the Voting Rights Act following the Supreme Court ruling that struck down major part of it.

CNN’s Dana Bash, Deirdre Walsh, Evan Perez, and Alan Silverleib contributed to this report.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.