Rumors abound this week of secret negotiations, backdoor meetings and veiled threats aimed at halting Rep. Issa's investigation of the Fast and Furious scandal. Regretfully, such rumors are all too credible given Speaker Boehner's history of always seeking a compromise even when victory is in sight.
This is what passes for pragmatism in Republican leadership circles: They settle for crumbs from the table instead of the "half a loaf" of successful compromise.
The investigation by Rep. Darrel Issa's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has been uncovering lies and contradictions in the attorney general's past testimony on the illegal Fast and Furious program that sent about 2,000 guns to Mexican drug cartels. Whether Holder masterminded and directed the illegal program is not clear, but what has become clear is that he knew about it practically from its inception and did nothing to curtail it. Then he lied about it to a committee of Congress.
This is not a question of some minor bureaucratic misjudgment that can now be corrected. People died as a result of this insane and wholly illegal project. Two of the dead are Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata. Zapata was ambushed by cartel assassins deep inside Mexico while working with Mexican authorities. Both were killed with guns brought into Mexico by the Fast and Furious program.
Maybe the White House needs to be reminded, but some us remember that President Nixon was not impeached and removed for instigating the Watergate break-in of June 1972. He was impeached for his part in the cover up that followed the break-in. In essence, he made the mistake of lying about it, which is what Holder has done.
The interesting question is why Speaker Boehner and other Republicans in leadership positions in the House are trying to hamper and curtail the Issa investigation. If Holder is innocent of the allegations, won't that become evident when all the evidence is made public? If he is innocent, why does the White House fear the investigation?
What's going on here? Every time Issa's committee holds a public hearing, new evidence comes to light. Why should the investigation be aborted? Why would Republicans want the investigation halted? What possible "deal" could the White House offer to Boehner to persuade him to end the investigation? The only compromise Republicans in Congress should accept in the case of Attorney General Holder is his early resignation instead of impeachment and removal.
Over 100 members of Congress – I think it is 112 at the latest count – have called for Holder's resignation. That's more than a quarter of all congressmen. And while it's not just his role in the Fast and Furious scandal that has led them to that conclusion, it's hard to imagine any of them calling for an end to the investigation.
The reported "deal" Boehner and Holder are discussing would let higher ups in the Department of Justice off the hook if they prosecute one or two individual ATF supervisors. Holder would then claim he "cleaned up the mess" and be free from any moral or political culpability. How does that sound, folks?
Rep. Issa must persevere in his investigation and seek the truth no matter where it leads. As for Speaker Boehner, if he has a problem with this, he should go into the hospital for a backbone transplant.