Will the GOP Put Holder on Trial?
Well maybe, kind’a, sort of!
By de Andréa
January 29, 2015
January 29, 2015
I believe the GOP lawmakers just may use yesterday and again today’s examination of Loretta Lynch, the federal prosecutor picked by President Obama to replace Holder as attorney general, to air long-standing grievances with the Obama administration.
They’ve long seen Holder and Obama as skirting the law on hot-button issues such as immigration, counterterrorism, tax enforcement and drug policies. Moreover, the president’s frequent use of executive action and regulation has drawn accusations that he’s exceeding his authority under the Constitution.
“I think there’s an erosion of confidence in the Department of Justice on the fundamental question of whether the attorney general politicizes the office,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Tuesday. “We need an attorney general that won’t politicize the office.”
But while GOP lawmakers are relishing the opportunity to sink their teeth into Holder’s record, they also concede Lynch — barring any misstep — is likely to be confirmed. Her reputation as being tough on crime has won praise from both sides of the aisle, with Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly calling her a “hero” last week, leaving the White House confident she’ll win over the Senate.
While Lynch’s nomination appears assured, as Democrats need only a handful of Republicans to cross the aisle and support her nomination, she still might have trouble staying out of the partisan crossfire at her confirmation hearing.
“The Justice Department is a big mess,” said Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), “and we want to know how she’s going to straighten out the department.”
One of the biggest points of contention will undoubtedly be immigration on the heels of the president’s announcement late last year that he would use prosecutorial discretion to defer deportation for up to 5 million illegal immigrants.
Sessions, who also sits on the panel, has been among the Senate’s most outspoken opponents of the president’s executive action. And Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said he’d judge her qualifications for the job based on how she responded to questions about the president’s immigration plan.
Another Judiciary panel member, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), said he had two things he wanted Lynch to address: his push for the DOJ to target Internet gambling more aggressively and his concern over efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
The committee has invited former CBS News reporter Sheryl Attkisson, who investigated the Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” gunrunning program, to appear before the panel. Congress held Holder in contempt for withholding documents from a House panel investigating the program.
After leaving CBS to join the Heritage Foundation, Attkisson filed a $35 million lawsuit against Holder accusing the federal government of spying on her.
Questions about the Justice Department’s treatment of journalists will be amplified by another witness, Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University professor known for having called for Holder’s resignation over the government’s seizure of phone records belonging to The Associated Press.
“I bet every one of the 10 [Republican] senators will have a question about executive action,” Grassley said.
Thanks for listening – de Andréa
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