In 2012, the infamous Fast and Furious scandal was under investigation by Congress, and the Obama administration was desperately trying to cover up what they knew about the botched gun-running operation in which they sent 2,000 guns into Mexico to track them to drug cartels, only to lose track of them. Two guns linked to the operation were found at the scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s fatal shooting. Countless other deaths of civilians were likely linked to guns sent into the country by the Obama administration. Seeing as Eric Holder was Obama’s “wingman,” who protected him from various investigations, Obama returned the favor by protecting Holder (who falsely claimed to have no knowledge of the operation) by asserting executive privilege over thousands of documents requested by the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee. This resulted in Congress’s historic (and bipartisan) vote to hold the attorney general in contempt.
At least 80 Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, staged a walkout over the contempt vote, calling it a “misuse of power” and chanting “shame on you” at Republicans, whom they naturally accused of racism for daring to hold Holder accountable for his obstruction.
“What is happening on the floor of the House is a misuse of power,” Pelosi said at a press conference outside the Capitol. “It is an abuse of power and it is the wrong thing to do.”
“The reason we have walked down those stairs and into this courtyard is to call the attention of the American people, who are angry about confrontation, angry about gridlock, angry about the fact that we are not focused on their priorities: jobs, investment infrastructure, the environment, education, innovation, building our economy,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
But now that former Trump advisor Steve Bannon is refusing to comply with a subpoena for their partisan investigation of the January 6 Capital riot, Democrats no longer believe holding someone in contempt of Congress is an abuse of power or a distraction from more important priorities.
“The Select Committee will use every tool at its disposal to get the information it seeks, and witnesses who try to stonewall the Select Committee will not succeed,” January 6 commission chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said on Thursday. “All witnesses are required to provide the information they possess so the Committee can get to the facts.”
Thomspon was among the Democrats who walked out of the contempt vote against Eric Holder in 2012. “We cannot and will not participate in a vote to hold the Attorney General in contempt,” read a letter from the Congressional Black Caucus, of which Thompson is a member. “We adamantly oppose this partisan attack and refuse to participate in any vote that would tarnish the image of Congress or of an Attorney General who has done nothing but work tirelessly to protect the rights of the American people.”
The January 6 Commission is a blatantly partisan investigation and a colossal waste of congressional resources. Even anti-Trump Republicans have called Nancy Pelosi out for her blatantly partisan commission.
Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), who voted to impeach Trump, called Pelosi’s commission “a turbo-charged partisan exercise, not an honest fact-finding body that the American people and Capitol Police deserve.”
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), another pro-impeachment Republican, predicted the committee would “end up being a partisan shouting match that accomplishes next to nothing and only serves to further divide us.”
Bannon’s refusal to participate in a partisan investigation is undeniably more justified than Eric Holder’s obstruction of an investigation. Holder tried to cover up that he was aware of the program that resulted in Terry’s death, but documents ultimately proved he’d long been briefed about Fast & Furious. Holder actually committed perjury by testifying that he hadn’t been briefed about the program before Brian Terry’s death. There’s a reason the vote to hold Holder in contempt was bipartisan. His was a legitimate case of obstruction. Bannon is refusing to participate in a commission that is undeniably a partisan charade. Yet, Democrats want to hold him in contempt after decrying such a thing was an abuse of power. Democrats once again have proven that they will always put party before country. They spent eight years protecting Obama and his administration from being held accountable for their multitude of crimes and scandals, and now they’re trying to criminalize anything and anyone linked to Trump.