Okay, so Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress!
|Dude, you really screwed up. Bad.|
So now what happens?
Actually, a lot, and not a lot.
The crazy irony is that when a person is found in contempt of Congress, the matter is turned over the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia for consideration of prosecution. Nancy Pelosi’s irrational fantasy not withstanding, Congress is not the executive branch and therefore does not have legal power of arrest over anybody. So, as with any criminal case, the charge of contempt is brought to a prosecutor who looks at the evidence and decides whether an arrest needs to be made.
Of course, as you expect, that US Attorney for DC, Ronald Machen, works for US Attorney General Eric Holder. Indeed, directly works under AG Holder.
Can one prosecute one’s own boss?
It gets worse. Attorney Machen in also heading up the investigation of White House security leaks, which could potentially involve AG Holder either as a witness, a suspect, or another investigator. Can one prosecute a potential witness for your side, or indeed your own sponsor of a separate investigation?
This has nothing but Conflict of Interest all over it.
The reasonable thing to do is to wait and see what happens, and whether another prosecuting attorney can take up the case without provoking a conflict of interest, but that will take some time.
Here is more irony. The Republicans in Congress were accused of playing politics here; obviously, they weren’t—because AG Holder was not even suspected of wrongdoing when asked for the original documents. The way AG Holder reacted and responded to the legitimate inquiry—was Mr. Terry’s death caused by actions initiated by the Department of Justice—immediately raised serious questions. And the dogged defiance with which AG Holder ridiculed and blocked the investigation brought this upon himself.
But now it is political. Since Mr. Machen et a lii will need to recuse themselves of investigation for now, this becomes a massive opportunity for Republican candidates to remind the public about the highly questionable and now seemingly dirty deeds of the Obama administration.
In fact, once Mr. Machen recuses himself of any responsibility of prosecution, it becomes political. Mitt Romney will and should harp not only on AG Holder’s lingering and festering contempt charge—a senior cabinet member has been formally brought up on charges!—but stress how quickly the President—the President!—blocked the investigation on a bogus claim of Executive Privilege, knowing full well that said privilege cannot be used to cover up illegal activities.
The entire affair stinks. How badly will be up to Mr. Romney.