Wisconsin Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee where Attorney General Eric Holder testified on Thursday, suggested that impeachment of administration officials involved with Operation Fast and Furious may be the only way to bring the scandal to a close.
In a heated exchange between Sensenbrenner and Holder during Thursday’s Judiciary Committee hearing, Sensenbrenner said impeachment is one option on the table if Holder and the Justice Department continue to withhold information from congressional investigators.
Sensenbrenner didn’t specify which administration officials he thinks could face impeachment proceedings, or if Holder is among them. But he did say the drastic measure would be a last resort.
“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 alternative that Congress has and it is called impeachment, where our subpoena powers are plenary and there can‘t be any type of legal immunity or privilege that can be asserted on that.”
“But if we keep on getting pushed down the road and the can keeps getting kicked, and we don’t get closure to this, what is Congress to do so that we don’t spend all our time in court arguing privilege?” Sensenbrenner continued. “That is not a way to get at the truth.”
Much to the chagrin of the committee’s ranking Democrat, Michigan Rep. John Conyers, Sensenbrenner said he has “done more impeachments than anyone else in the country, and it is an expensive and messy affair, and I don’t want to go this far.”
Conyers jumped in afterward to insist that he — not Sensenbrenner — has conducted more impeachments than anyone else.