Ted Cruz: Impeach Eric Holder, Not President Obama

by Joel Gehrke

Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) doesn’t want conservatives to try to impeach President Obama, but he supports targeting Attorney General Eric Holder.

“It is clear, with the Harry Reid Senate, impeachment of the president is not going anywhere,” Cruz told National Review Online during an interview at the 2014 RedState Gathering in Fort Worth, Texas. “If the House of Representatives were to impeach the attorney general, that process would shine much needed light on the indefensible abuse of power by the attorney general,” he says.

An MSNBC overview of the 2016 Republican contenders surmised that Cruz “was seemingly keeping his options open” on the question of impeachment based on his comments to NRO last month, when he said that impeachment of the president ”is a decision for the House of Representatives.” 

The freshman senator thinks that a Holder impeachment would open the “predictable playbook” that Obama’s team follows when confronted with a scandal.

Cruz discussed that playbook chiefly by reference to the IRS:

When a scandal breaks, the president says he’s outraged. When the IRS scandal broke – and it broke, by the way, because the inspector general of the Treasury Department reported that the IRS had wrongfully targeted conservatives and tea party groups and pro-Israel groups and pro-life groups — the president said he was outraged and he said he was angry and he said the American people had a right to be angry. That’s predictably step number one in the Obama White House’s scandal response. Step number two is stonewall at every front. Shut down any investigation, provide no information, or as we’ve seen recently, have emails and hard drives magically disappear. And then, step number three: after stonewalling for many months, dismiss the entire issue as old news, no longer relevant, dredging up the past. That’s what they’re trying to do with the IRS. That’s what they’re trying to do with Benghazi. It’s wrong.

With his talk of shining a light, it sounds as if Cruz doesn’t expect the Senate Democrats to remove Holder from office, but he seems to think that House impeachment would expose the administration without rising to the level of political risk attached to impeaching the president.

“If a private citizen behaved in the same way, it would be obstruction of justice, and impeachment is a tool the House of Representatives has to shine a powerful light on the abuse of power by the administration with regard to the IRS,” Cruz says. “And I think it’s a tool we should use.”