The Trump administration has not made this a good week for Republicans.
Following his decisions to align with Democrats on DACA, his endorsement of a Democratic senator’s reelection campaign, and his embrace of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in a deal to raise the debt ceiling; the news that his Department of Justice will not be prosecuting Lois Lerner has further made Republicans wondering if they have lost a friend in the White House.
Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel, author of the The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech which detailed Lerner’s role in the IRS’ effort to attack and silence Tea Party groups, tweeted:
Very disturbing that DOJ and Sessions are not taking any action in the IRS scandal. Message to all bureaucrats: Do your worst. #loislerner
— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) September 8, 2017
Several House Republicans have been even more critical.
As reported by the Free Beacon, Two prominent House Republicans criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for declining to reopen a criminal investigation into charges that former IRS Director Lois Lerner violated several federal laws by targeting conservative groups and lying to Congress during its three-year probe.
House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady (R., Texas) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), who chairs the panel’s tax policy subcommittee, angrily reacted to a Thursday letter from Sessions’ informing them of the Department of Justice’s decision not to reopen a criminal investigation against Lerner.
“This is a terrible decision,” Brady said in a statement. “It sends the message that the same legal, ethical and Constitutional standards we all live by do not apply to Washington political appointees—who will now have the green light to target Americans for their political belief and mislead investigators without ever being held accountable for their lawlessness.”
Conservative website Judicial Watch, which has long been instrumental in reporting IRS-gate, has issued the following statement from its president, Tom Fitton:
I have zero confidence that the Justice Department did an adequate review of the IRS scandal. In fact, we’re still fighting the Justice Department and the IRS for records about this very scandal. Today’s decision comes as no surprise considering that the FBI collaborated with the IRS and is unlikely to investigate or prosecute itself. President Trump should order a complete review of the whole issue. Meanwhile, we await accountability for IRS Commissioner Koskinen, who still serves and should be drummed out of office.
Given the viciousness with which Lerner and her allies in the IRS went after the Tea Party movement and the key role that played in Obama’s victory in the 2012 presidential election, even some of Trump’s most loyal supporters will be hardpressed to defend his decision to let Lerner walk free.