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The following is a summary of a discussion I had on my radio show.  You can listen to it here.

In a Senate Judiciary hearing last week, our nation's leading law enforcement officer, Attorney General Eric Holder said he believes that Wall Street is too big to jail.

If that's true, then it's game over, folks.

Our nation's leading law enforcement officer has just said that Wall Street can rob you, Wall Street can cheat you, Wall Street can steal from you, Wall Street can launder billions in drug money and at most, all they will get is a fine.  Which they can and do write off as a tax deduction.  We, the taxpayers pay their fines through their deductions.  The fines are meaningless.

Some people have been calling what Holder said in the hearing a cry for help.  And I guess maybe it could be.

I'm sorry, but, I do not buy that the Justice Department is powerless.  They are not powerless here.  Or if they are, it is 100% by choice.  Eric Holder could prosecute Wall Street for their crimes, and the fact is he has chosen not to.

He's chosen not too.  Because he and by extension President Barack Obama feel that Wall Street is too big to jail.  They have chosen to make Wall Street above the law.

If Wall Street didn't believe it had a free pass before, how could they not now?  Holder has said to Wall Street, break all the laws you want!  I can't do any thing about it!

I'm sorry.  Eric Holder, for refusing to prosecute Wall Street, should be fired immediately by Barack Obama.

Of course that's not going to happen.  Because he's doing this with Obama's blessing.  The buck stops with the President and the President has surrounded himself with Wall Street types since day one.  From Tim Geithner to Larry Summers to his brand new Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew.

Not prosecuting Wall Street is President Obama's policy.  Period.  

He's not going to fire Eric Holder.  He's not.

So, I'm going say something controversial here.  If Eric Holder refuses to prosecute Wall Street, because he feels they're above the law, which he has admitted to in front of the Senate, and if Obama does not fire him, Congress should impeach him.

They should impeach him.

I know.  That's not going to happen either.  Congress only impeaches people over sex or affairs.  And if Congress did impeach Holder it'd be over something stupid like Fast and Furious.  But they should impeach him over his refusal to prosecute Wall Street.

We have one of two things here.  

1)  We have someone who is either flat out refusing to enforce the law and do his job.

Or, if you give Democrats the benefit of the doubt, and this really was a cry for help, then

2)  He's afraid to do his job.  He's too much of coward to do his job.  He's scared that if he follows the law on Wall Street the economy will collapse.

Ok.  You win, Democrats.  I'll accept your version.  Eric Holder is a sniveling coward.  Either way, he's not doing the job.  The Justice Department's job is not to shield and protect the 1%.

But fine.  Eric Holder thinks they're too big to prosecute?  Eric Holder want to break up the big banks?  Great.  I agree.  We need to break them up.  But if this is indeed a cry for help, how dare he give it now?

Eric Holder is in his second term.  He has been the Attorney General for over four years and now... now he says, hey Wall Street is too big to jail!

Where was he four years ago?  Where was he three years ago?  Two years ago?  Last year?

Now he's concerned?  After ignoring it for all this time?  Did he have some epiphany in the last month or so?  What changed his mind?  He's had 4 years and he's done nothing!

Maybe it's time we Occupy the Justice Department.  Maybe it's time we set our sights on those who refuse or are too afraid to prosecute Wall Street.  Maybe it's time we ask for the impeachment of Attorney General Eric Holder.

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Comment Preferences

  •  No. (13+ / 0-)

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 12:01:30 PM PDT

  •  The answer is a resounding yes. (7+ / 0-)

    He is derelict in his duty not only with the bankers but also Holder failed to prosecute Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld for War Crimes and Torture.

  •  Even the GOP doesn't want to impeach Holder (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fe Bongolan, aargh, FG

    Impeachment starts in the House and the Speaker isn't willing to spend one penny of political capital starting an impeachment investigation of Eric Holder. There is nothing but trouble for Boehner starting a process to remove the AG as it would be viewed as highly partisan and make dealing with the President nearly impossible.

    Even if the Speaker allowed a vote in the House regarding an investigation I don't think you could find 50 votes total to begin the process to impeach the Attorney General.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 12:06:33 PM PDT

    •  I don't think it'd be viewed as highly partisan (0+ / 0-)

      common sensical is more like it.

      I don't think Boehner care much about dealnigs with the President.  I do think Boehner, like Obama, approves of Holder's excuses for not prosecuting Wall St.

    •  Here's another reason Boehner won't do it: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thomas Twinnings, dfarrah

      It wouldn't just be about his dereliction of duty with the banks, but with the GOP war criminals.  Of course, that wouldn't be part of the case that the House would bring against him (the diarist is right that it would be about bogus shit like fast and furious) but that would become part of the national discussion should his impeachment become likely.  No, they're not going to do it because they are just as crave and corrupt as he is.

      My opinion is that impeaching Holder (on legitimate counts rather than Limbaugh talking points) would be the ideal way to correct not only the failure of Pelosi to impeach the Cheney cabal when she had the votes (her feckless statement in my sig line notwithstanding), but of Obama's failure to demand of his DoJ that the laws of the nation be upheld.

      Ain't gonna happen.  Not enough principled Dems in the house that would get behind such a move even if it were miraculously to be proposed by Boehner's gang.

      Oh, and the fact that he would probably, like Clinton, be found not guilty by the Senate doesn't give any credence to Pelosi's cowardlhy comment below: an impeachment in and of itself is an indictment.  If the court of the Senate were to fail to convict Holder on the ample evidence of his malfeasance and rank cowardice (as opposed to the ridiculous case that the House Managers brought against Clinton), the onus would be on the Senate for that failure, not on the House for calling him to account.

      Partisan politics is why we're in this mess.  The US two party system is broken beyond repair.  Only a massive rejiggering (which a Holder impeachment would create) can right this capsized vessel.  The fact that it isn't going to happen is merely a further indictment (on top of Pelosi's failure) of our political system: we now harbor war criminals and larcenists of the grandest scale in the highest chambers of our government.  

      I'm rec'ing this diary.  This is a conversation this site needs to have.

      "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

      by nailbender on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 12:27:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Let me be clear... (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think the House will do it.

      I have no illusions of Republicans not being in Wall Street's pocket.

    •  Politely disagree. (0+ / 0-)

      Boner's main objective has been to delay and stall so nothing gets done.
      This is a perfect opportunity to continue that while getting support from teh tea partiers and know that it would never be approved in the Senate.  So he accomplishes three of his objectives, support from the right, obstruction which will drag out more time to not do anything and Wall Street never gets touched.

      Holder knows of specific high level crimes and refuses to prosecute.  That is either collusion and/or malfeasance in office.  It is an obscenity perpetrated on the American electorate.  Holder belongs in prison.

      Don't believe everything you think.

      by BrianParker14 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 01:45:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Brian - The Speaker has no interest initiating (0+ / 0-)

        a fight with the administration on an impeachment inquiry. Your analysis is wrong.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 05:16:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Vclib your analysis of my comments (0+ / 0-)

          are "wrong".   You, nor I have any insight into what boners "interests" are.  I was just tossing out a suggested thought as to what he might consider.  Not an analysis and certainly not an insight into his self interested thinking. To say it's "wrong" implies there is no valid perspective.  Please explain why each of those three objectives are not reasonable, given boner's history as a Speaker who has repeatedly carried out each of those three objectives.  You may not agree that Holder should be impeached but that doesn't hold that my perspective is wrong.  It may, by your thought process, be not practical, but that doesn't mean it's a "wrong" perspective. "Wrong" implies I have proposed a definitive answer. I, like most comments, are just stating a considered opinion.  There is no right or "wrong" to it. Just a thought.

          Don't believe everything you think.

          by BrianParker14 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 06:43:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  On what grounds? (3+ / 0-)

    All this statement means is that his legal team is not capable of doing the job and he's unwilling to take it on.  That doesn't raise my confidence in Mr. Holder but underperformance is not grounds for impeachment.

    •  Yes it is! (0+ / 0-)

      Failure to prosecute is tantamount to Obstruction of Justice, a felony in most jurisdictions.
      Beyond that, if his failure was done in concert with others, it is a conspiracy to obstruct justice, another felony.

      Nuclear Reactor = Dirty Bomb

      by olo on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 02:17:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cabinet memebers do not get impeached. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hayden, pashber, Kickemout, doroma, MrAnon

    If you are going to blame our first minority AG for the system, at least get your facts in order. You might also tell us who you would get to replace him that can get confirmed and who will prosecute.

    Otherwise,stop asking us to join the wingnuts and going after our own (I'm talking to Dems only).

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 12:22:07 PM PDT

    •  Actually cabinet members can get impeached. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Article II, section 4 allows for impeachment of "the president, the vice president and all civil officers of the United States."  That includes cabinet members.

      •  Difference between "can't" and "don't". (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If memory serves, only one member of the Cabinet has been impeached. They leave by means other than impeachment. Thus "don't" and not "can't".

        "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

        by sebastianguy99 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 12:50:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          By the time it would get to that point they'd most likely resign.  

          But the power is there.

          So, there is nothing to be done about the lack of Wall Street prosecutions and Too Big To Jail/Fail?

          •  I never said the power wasn't there. (0+ / 0-)

            That aside, I am still wondering who gets confirmed and then starts to prosecute? It's doesn't do a thing to remove someone if nothing is going to change.

            I have always held the perspective that there are legal ways to lie, steal, cheat, and kill. My read of our history leaves me with the impression that the system has always been this way and probably worse in other eras.

            If I thought AG Holder was responsible for creating and funding the system, I'd also call for his resignation. His departure would just be for show, and likely make it harder for another minority to hold the office.

            I think what can be done now is to push hard for a change in the law so that the hopes of sending people to prison doesn't depend largely on some prosecutor having to explain the finer points of secured instruments that even most of the CEO's didn't fully understand.

            I also support what now appears to be a bipartisan effort to limit the size of banks and limit risk to the taxpayer.  I'd also like to reverse the damage done in the 90's to financial regulations.

            So yes, there are things that can be done that are more than symbolic gestures.

            "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

            by sebastianguy99 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 01:52:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  sigh... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    AG Holder has spoken about why he has gone after the banks plenty of times.  Just because you don't like the answers he gave doesn't he's inept at his job.

    Thanks for giving me another reason why to not like anything Occupy.

    The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing online commenters that they have anything to say.-- B.F.

    by lcj98 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 12:22:59 PM PDT

  •  No. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    If anything I would lay the blame higher up.  If the Obama Admin really wanted to teach these banks a lesson then Holder would likely prosecute.  But I think Obama doesn't want to rock the boat because he's got enough problems on his hands, plus of course money talks in politics.

  •  What a convulated effort of Pathos... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...should Bugs Bunny be impeached?

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 12:26:09 PM PDT

  •  good luck with that: impeach the first Black AG nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013

    by annieli on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 12:27:16 PM PDT

  •  What if Holder is right (0+ / 0-)

    When he says that sometimes " if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy"?  What if prosecuting banks to the extend we want would even create a serious risk that the national and global economy will be worse than it has been in the past decade?

    I do not say that is what would happen, but neither do I say it would never happen.  I wouldn't call for Holder's impeachment, but I think it would make sense to ask Holder to share some of the indications he says he has had of when prosecution would have led to negative effects on the economy.

    The pessimist in me says that the only way to break up these banks is to have a depression so deep and wide that we see bankers and stockbrokers jumping out of windows.

    •  Then I'd say... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thomas Twinnings

      It's time to give up all pretense of being a nation of laws.

      By not prosecuting Wall Street for its crimes, somehow we think it's going to get better?  And that the economy will be more stable?

      More lawbreaking will occur.  More regular people will suffer, losing their homes and their jobs as a consequence.

      •  I'd rather Wall Street be made to pay (0+ / 0-)

        a one cent per transaction fee, coming and going, to the govt. For payback. For humility's sake. They're worldbeaters, and we're hurting from the beating.

        "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes

        Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

        by OleHippieChick on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 01:32:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Could it be any worse? (0+ / 0-)

      The economy has been fucked for a long time.
      Dispensing free Trillion$ to the banks accomplished exactly what for DK people?
      Bust 'em, try 'em...
      ... then Hang 'em

      Nuclear Reactor = Dirty Bomb

      by olo on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 02:23:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, it could be a lot worse. (0+ / 0-)

        It has been a lot worse, in this nation's past.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 02:37:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What if it would lead to a depression? (0+ / 0-)

        Something bigger than the Great Depression.  I don't know if it would.  I kind of doubt it, actually.

        It may be that there is no way to break up the banks without also taking a wrecking ball to the structure of the economy.  We might like that in theory, but it could cause a load of suffering during the transition to a better structure.

        It's possible that the best solution is to keep banks from growing larger than they are now and to wait for the economy to grow so that the banks take up a smaller percentage of the pie.  How you go about that, I don't know, but it's an option to explore.

  •  Prosecutorial discretion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, TomP, scott5js

    is not grounds for impeachment, no matter what you think of said discretion.

  •  Ok, so most people say no. So, if I may ask... (0+ / 0-)

    What do you think we should we do about the lack of Wall Street prosecutions and Too Big To Fail/Jail?

    Anything at all?

    A sincere question.

    •  If you did that before devoting your show to (0+ / 0-)

      the idea that is obviously stupid, maybe I would take you seriously. Can you even tell what 'prosecuting Wall Street' means? What specific laws they broke? Sure, they are greedy bastards. But that by itself is not necessarily illegal.

    •  The path lies through Congress (0+ / 0-)

      Not through the judicial system.

      We're dealing with a structural problem that won't be fixed by a few prosecutions.  What Congress can actually do about it is a matter of debate.

      I suspect that any meaningful change will result in the collateral damage of tens of thousands of innocent, regular people losing their jobs.  I am hardened enough to be willing to accept that price.  If that is what would actually happen, are you?

      •  Quit msu. (0+ / 0-)

        Really.  Why on earth would prosecutions cause the calamity you envision?

        For all you know, the banks would settle for a goodly portion of their profits over the past few years - and that would be quite a settlement.

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 04:36:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd imagine a scenario (0+ / 0-)

          Where a loss of reputation would lead to problems such as depositor panic and ultimately lead a major bank to fail in a political environment where it would be too toxic to allow politicians to try to prevent the collateral damage that would occur from that institution failing.  I'm not sure how badly a bank would have to be hammered for that to occur, but I am open to the idea that it is possible.

  •  The 'exempt from prosecution' class in America... (0+ / 0-)

    You're in this class if you're a politician, stock broker or investment banker.

    The USA invaded Iraq based on lies...

    Shouldn't some number of politicians be held responsible for war crimes??

    The USA economy is destroyed, costing the American public in the area of $15 TRILLION...

    Shouldn't some number of wall street brokers, investment companies and insurance companies be held responsible for their fraudulent practices??

    A guy duped a bunch of rich people out of millions of dollars with a ponzi scheme...

    He (Bernie Madoff) gets 150 YEARS IN JAIL !

    Moral of the story:

    Don't mess with the rich people!

    *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

    by josmndsn on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 01:46:38 PM PDT

  •  No way (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Impeachment is a serious remedy, reserved for "high crimes and misdemeanors," usually interpreted as meaning something major and outrageous like embezzlement or bribery in office.

    The impeachment trial of President Clinton is generally recognized as the low point, a politically motivated triviality, and even people involved in pushing it seem to have conceded that it went way too far. It also tied up Congress and national attention for months. (The GOP saw that as a plus, since they were trying to prevent Clinton from accomplishing anything, just as they are now with Obama.) The last thing we need is the progressive community pushing for a much lower standard of "impeach everyone we disagree with" -- that's the GOP strategy and we don't want to go there.

    In this case what you're complaining about is known as "prosecutorial discretion." NO prosecutor pursues every possible crime that might have been committed, and every prosecutor's office weighs the chance of getting a conviction against the expense of doing so and the importance of the case. There is no legal obligation on any prosecutor, at any level, to prosecute absolutely everything. And they are pretty much immune from being challenged (in court) on those decisions.

    Am I happy about the Holder/Obama decision to let the banks off? Absolutely not. But impeachment threats are not an appropriate way to go.


  •  You can't prosecute Wall Street (0+ / 0-)

    You can prosecute individuals or corporations for violations of specific laws.
    What are the laws and who might the defendants be? Are the relevant laws too vague? Do they give the DOJ too much discretion?

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 05:20:19 PM PDT

  •  Never Mind... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the insult and outrage of the nations supposed top legal officer saying that the nation can't afford to enforce its own laws.

    It requires a Romney-like leap--banks are people, friend!--to accept what Holder says. How will prosecuting the top executive officers at the leading banks for fraud cause the banks to topple?  By negatively affecting their shareholder value?


    I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that Obama's recent populist turn in rhetoric is masking a more corporate-friendly agenda than ever. Renewed interest in the grand bargain is one bit of confirmation of this.  Quietly expanding his discretionary anti-terrorism powers is another.  And Holder's explicit statement that the banks are immune to the laws is yet another.

    I do believe it's time to impeach Holder.

  •  I have no time for cowards, he has to go. (0+ / 0-)

    I can't believe I'm saying this, but Ashcroft is more of a man and more of a patriot than this incompetent political tool.

    Does Obama really think this game of having feckless idiots act out subtle incompetence as cover for his own cowardice will work... in the eyes of history?

    The historians may be book worms, but they aren't fucking stupid.

    Impeach him.

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