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That same debate has played out as the Utah House launches its investigation. Swallow’s lawyers have argued that the attorney general could be impeached only for criminal acts committed since taking office in January. Legislative attorneys counter that the impeachment power is broader and up to lawmakers to define.
In 2011, Reich joined the U.S. Justice Department as an associate deputy attorney general and served as the point man for the department’s response to a congressional investigation of "Fast and Furious" — an operation in which weapons were allowed to be smuggled to drug runners in Mexico so they could be traced to crack the cartels. Some of the guns later were used in crimes in Mexico and the slaying of a U.S. border agent.
The special Utah House committee investigating Attorney General John Swallow will meet Wednesday at 9 a.m. in Room 445 of the Capitol.
Republicans on the U.S. House Oversight Committee, including Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, accused the Obama administration of obstructing their inquiry, withholding documents and misleading Congress.
Reich defended the administration’s position that emails and memorandums reflecting deliberations about the operation were protected by executive privilege. The committee is now suing the administration to try to force the release of the records.
Reich left Justice in April to join Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.
O’Neill said that, as Utah lawmakers undertake their investigation, he is reminded of a comment Reich made as they embarked on the Rowland inquiry.
"One of the things he said that always stuck in my mind almost a decade later is that this is a changing experience," O’Neill said. "It will change your way of looking at politics going through this as an investigator."
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