Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Wednesday tried to get Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch to admit that maybe sometimes, a special prosecutor is needed to investigate the executive branch when there's a clear conflict of interest.
But it was harder than he thought.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tried to get AG nominee Loretta Lynch to admit that sometimes an independent prosecutor is needed to investigate the executive branch, but didn't get very far. Image: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Cruz had in mind the idea that a special prosector might be needed to investigate the IRS, after it was found that the IRS was targeting tax-exempt groups. Republicans have called for an independent prosector to follow up on these claims, but so far, Attorney General Eric Holder has refused.
Cruz didn't get very far with Lynch on Wednesday, and in the end, he tried to see if there was any case in which she might agree to a special prosecutor. He asked if Lynch would trust former Attorney General John Mitchell to investigate his then-president, Richard Nixon.
"Based on that hypothetical, I'd have to know what the issue was, and what you were requesting him to do," she replied.
"Would you trust John Mitchell to investigate the allegations of wrongdoing and the break-in at Watergate against Richard Nixon," Cruz said. "Would you trust John Mitchell, who had run Richard Nixon's campaign, to investigate the allegations that ultimately led to Richard Nixon resigning the presidency?"
Lynch replied to laughter, "I think that matter has been resolved," and then said she wasn't quite sure what point he was trying to make.
"I'm sorry, I don't think I'm understanding the basis of your question, sir," she said. Cruz took the answer as a sign that she'd be resistant to ever call for an independent prosecutor.
The back-and-forth between Cruz and Lynch starts at about 14 minutes into the video: