Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Holders Gotta Go


President Barack Obama granted an 11th-hour request from Attorney General Eric Holder to exert executive privilege and withhold documents related to the Fast and Furious gun probe. This is an outrage! Not unexpected, but, still, an outrage!

Here is a quote from US Deputy Attorney General James Cole:

"We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the committee's concerns and to accommodate the committee's legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious. Although we are deeply disappointed that the committee appears intent on proceeding with a contempt vote, the department remains willing to work with the committee to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues."

This is, of course, bull. The AG’s office has done nothing but stonewall and dissimulate. None of the seven thousand documents they have provided clarify how the program failed so badly or who was accountable. In fact, many of the documents released do not even relate to the Fast and Furious program. 

What is so ironic is that the move by President Obama to withhold the key documents in this case gives the lie to every word of Cole’s statement. The AG has not co-operated with the investigation since it was leaked that senior officials in the Attorney General’s office might be involved. Congress has made every effort to avoid a final showdown with the AG yet Holder and company have lied, complained and tried to blame previous administrations. One wonders just what is in those documents that is so damning.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who along with Congressman Darrell Issa has been spearheading inquiries into the gunrunning scandal, immediately attacked the president for this questionable move.

“The assertion of executive privilege raises monumental questions,” Grassley said. “How can the President assert executive privilege if there was no White House involvement? How can the President exert executive privilege over documents he's supposedly never seen? Is something very big being hidden to go to this extreme?

What do those documents contain that is so damning the President has to hide them behind executive privilege? Do they directly implicate AG Eric Holder? Or is there more? We will not know, now that Obama has moved to protect his friend.

“The contempt citation is an important procedural mechanism in our system of checks and balances,” added Grassley. “The questions from Congress go to determining what happened in a disastrous government program for accountability and so that it's never repeated again.”

Certainly Fast and Furious was a disastrous program. A Border Patrol agent died as a result. As for the contempt issue, will it pass the full House? Even if a Contempt of Congress resolution is passed what will have been accomplished?

Time and again Congress has moved to hold various officials in contempt such as Henry Kissinger in 1975, Interior Secretary James Watt in 1982 and Attorney General Janet Reno in 1998. Each official was held in contempt by committees but compromises were reached before a contempt action ever reached a full House vote. Anne Gorsuch Burford, then-administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, was held in contempt in 1982 by the full House, but was never prosecuted. Karl Rove and Harriet Myers were held in contempt in 2008, but neither action was ever resolved.

Will this time be any different? How much longer will we, The American People, turn a blind eye to the arrogance of our government. Our Liar in Chief, Obama, continues to thumb his nose at the public despite the overwhelming rejection of his policies. When will we stand up in unison and shout, “Enough!” Eric Holders gotta go and his boss with him.

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