Now that the Republican-led House of Representatives has voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, chances are, not much more will happen. The Justice Department, not surprisingly, has no interest in prosecuting the man who leads the Justice Department, and House GOP leaders intend to push the issue into the courts, where it could take years to resolve.
But there is one other avenue.
Two months ago, I warned that House Republicans, eager for drama, could try to create a bizarre constitutional crisis by telling the House Sergeant at Arms to try to arrest the Attorney General. It seems hopelessly outlandish, and exceedingly unlikely, but it’s possible.
And of late last week, one House Republican was willing to at least raise the specter of such a crisis.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Friday raised the possibility that Attorney General Eric Holder could be placed under arrest now that he has been found in contempt of Congress.
“I find it hard and dramatic to do, but look we want to get to the bottom of this. We’re serious about this. I don’t think the Democrats thought we were serious to actually hold him in contempt, but this is a serious enough case,” said Chaffetz on Fox News.
Chaffetz, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News that there are three options moving forward – going through the U.S. attorney, taking civil action or instructing the House sergeant at arms to “take control of the situation” with an arrest.
However, he acknowledged the House had received a letter from Department of Justice instructing the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to not pursue legal action.
No U.S. Attorney is going to prosecute. The House GOP leadership is content to see what happens in court, but in this case, we have one fairly prominent House member who’s still eyeing the constitutional crisis route.
I’d still be surprised if Republicans really pursued this, but the fact that Chaffetz is willing to talk like this, out loud and on national television, isn’t reassuring.