A group of Republicans wants to make history: if they get their way, the House of Representatives will impeach a member of a presidential cabinet for the first time in more than a century.
Florida Rep. Ted Yoho told the Gainsville Sun this week that he plans to bring articles of impeachment against Attorney General Eric Holder before the year is over.
“It’s to get him out of office—impeachment,” Yoho said, according the Sun.
“It will probably be when we get back in [Washington],” he said. “It will be before the end of the year. This will go to the speaker and the speaker will decide if it comes up or not.”
A spokesman from Yoho’s office told Roll Call the plan is being drafted by another member, but that his boss would be a top supporter. Yoho’s chief of staff Cat Cammack told the Sun that the impeachment plan has been inspired by “botched programs” the attorney general oversaw.
“Obviously there is a lot frustration with our attorney general. You can name the botched programs,” Cammack said. “Fast and Furious has been one of the No. 1 complaints we get in our office and why no one has been held accountable.”
The Fast and Furious program has been repeatedly criticized by Republicans, including the House Oversight Committee, where Chairman Darrell Issa has devoted many hours to the topic. That Committee voted to hold Holder in contempt of Congress last year over his failure to release internal documents that the White House exerted executive privilege over.
If the vote were successful, Holder would become the first member of a cabinet to be impeached since 1876, when War Secretary William Belknap was impeached by the House over accusations of corruption. Belknap resigned before the House actually held the impeachment vote.
Democrats sought to impeach former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in 2007, with a few dozen co-sponsoring a resolution to direct Congress to investigate whether he should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors after FBI director Robert Mueller gave conflicting testimony about the NSA’s “terrorist surveillance program,” which called the veracity of Gonzales’s statements into question. But Gonzales resigned two months later. before the resolution managed to gain any traction.
That might ultimately be the goal for the many Republicans (and a couple Democrats) who have spoken out against Holder, with some openly calling for his resignation. He told NBC News in June that he had no plans to heed those calls, but insinuated that he did not plan to serve in the role through the end of President Obama’s time in office.
“There’s some things that I wanna do–some things I wanna get done–that I’ve discussed with the president,” he said at the time. “And once I have finished that I’ll–I’ll sit down with him and we’ll determine–when it’s time to make a transition to–a new attorney general.”
According to a Washington Post report, some Justice Department employees quietly suspect he will leave the position by the end of the year, while others believe he will wait until next summer so he can celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.