Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), the congressman launching the effort to remove Attorney General Eric Holder from his post atop the Department of Justice (DOJ) via Articles of Impeachment, told Breitbart News exclusively in a Wednesday phone interview that he now has the support of ten other House members already.
As Breitbart News reported earlier on Wednesday, Olson’s resolution, which will be formally introduced in the House on Thursday, has already garnered the supports of Reps. Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX), Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX). Now, he can add Reps. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) to the list.
“We can’t have the highest law enforcement official in America defying subpoenas and deciding which laws to enforce and not enforce,” Olson said in his phone interview with Breitbart News. “And so the American people deserve answers and accountability. If he won’t resign, we will force him to resign through impeachment. Plain and simple.”
Olson must get 218 Representatives to support his resolution to pass it out of the House. Last Congress, 130 House Republicans outright called for Holder’s resignation, whereas many more signed the House resolution of “no confidence” in the attorney general that Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) led.
In addition, the criminal contempt of Congress resolution against Holder passed the House of Representatives last year 255-67, with all but two House Republicans–Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) and former Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH)–supporting the resolution. Seventeen House Democrats voted Holder into criminal contempt. On the separate civil contempt of Congress resolution, all House Republicans voted yes and 21 Democrats voted yes, as well.
At least eight GOP U.S. Senators called for Holder’s resignation last year as well, as did every GOP presidential candidate in 2012.
The way the process works, Olson said, is that “basically the House has the indictment.” Olson needs to round up the votes necessary to pass this resolution out of the House of Representatives. Then, if this resolution passes the House, it is sent over to the Senate. The House resolution is viewed like an indictment, Olson said, and in the Senate, there would be what is equivalent to a trial. “It’s a two-step process,” he said.
Thus far, Olson said he has had lots of interest from other members in the couple of hours since his effort became public. “We’ve picked up 10 [cosponsors] here in about two hours,” Olson said. “So 10 is pretty good in just a couple hours. So, Paul Gosar and I are working very closely. We think we’re kind of the two-fisted punch. He’s got his way to go after Mr. Holder and I’ve got my way. And we’re working very closely. Mr. Holder is the most partisan Attorney General our country has ever had.”
Efforts against Holder back in last Congress were focused mostly on Operation Fast and Furious–which is still a major focus of the renewed push against Holder. “The Constitutional standard [for impeachment] is high crimes and misdemeanors,” Olson said in his phone interview with Breitbart News on Wednesday. “I’ve had many conversations with some lawyers up here about that provision and what it really means, and the bottom line is looking at Mr. Holder’s performance–I mean, Fast and Furious. He kept denying there was a gun walking program.”
The DOJ originally denied the allegations from whistleblower and ATF Special Agent John Dodson in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), a letter that the DOJ left on the official congressional record until almost a year later–when it retracted the letter in late 2011, admitting that the Department had misled Congress for almost a year about Fast and Furious.
Then after admitting Operation Fast and Furious was in fact a gun walking program, Olson said, Holder kept hiding information from Congress and slow walking documents up to the hill. “Our job in the Constitution is oversight–but nothing, nothing, nothing [came in]. Just little trickles,” Olson said. “And giant ordeals with us. Then right as he’s about to testify to these subpoenas, the executive branch all of sudden asserts executive privilege, taking away about one half of the stuff we wanted. Again, he did not respond to a lawful subpoena. Under U.S. Code 2 USC § 192, that’s a misdemeanor, which can punishable by a $1,000 fine and one year in jail.”
Holder was voted into criminal contempt of Congress on the grounds that he failed to comply with a lawfully-issued congressional subpoena. However, after it passed the House of Representatives on a bipartisan basis, Holder’s subordinate–the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ron Machen–decided to not enforce the criminal contempt resolution.
“That’s why we also passed the civil contempt resolution,” Olson told Breitbart News, noting that the goal was that if Holder blocked his own criminal prosecution–as he was expected to do and did–then House GOP officials could officially designate the resources necessary to launch a lawsuit against Holder’s DOJ and President Obama’s administration as a whole. This lawsuit would fight to have a federal judge overturn the president’s assertion of executive privilege and compel document production to Congress pursuant to Holder’s subpoena. That lawsuit just passed a key hurdle a few weeks ago, in which a federal judge threw out the DOJ’s motion to dismiss–thereby allowing the lawsuit to proceed.
This time around, Holder is not facing charges related just to Operation Fast and Furious. Since the last Congress, Holder’s DOJ has been embroiled in a number of other scandals, and House Republicans are emboldened heading into this battle with Holder.
Olson’s resolution is divided into four separate Articles of Impeachment. The first deals directly with Fast and Furious, the second with Holder’s non-enforcement directives of laws like the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and drug laws. The third addresses Holder’s refusal to prosecute IRS officials involved with leaking confidential tax return documents of GOP donors, and the fourth pursues Holder for allegedly misleading Congress regarding his involvement with the targeting of media figures like Fox News’ James Rosen.
“He actually selects laws and says, ‘I like this law so I’m going to enforce it,’ and ‘I don’t like this one so I’m not going to enforce it,'” Olson said of the second part of his Articles of Impeachment resolution.
He is the most powerful cop, law enforcement official, in America. He can’t pick and choose which laws he wants to enforce and which laws he doesn’t. I mean, DOMA? He did not protect that for years and years. He also got rid of two provisions for drug control, making sure that young people who get convicted serve a minimum sentence. That’s federal law. He’s supposed to enforce it. He also endorsed what’s happened in Colorado and Washington with recreational marijuana. He opened that door by saying, “I won’t enforce the federal law.” He took the oath to support and defend the Constitution. He has just not abided by that oath whatsoever.
With regard to Article three, Olson said that even the Inspector General at the Department of Treasury recommended Holder prosecute those at the IRS responsible for leaking GOP donor tax records. “Now he [Holder] declined to take that up and said it’s all fine,” Olson said. “I think that’s the worst one.”
The fourth Article in the resolution–the one that deals with Holder’s alleged involvement in targeting journalists like Fox’s Rosen–Olson said outlines how “Holder came and testified under oath in May of this year and he said he was not involved in the James Rosen situation.”
“Holder said in May ‘nope, not involved. Had nothing to do with it,'” Olson said. “Less than a month later, he sends over a letter and admitted that ‘yeah, I actually approved the operation.’ That was a flat out lie to say what he said before Congress with his right hand up and say that he took the oath.”