The Coming Clash on Benghazi

 

GowdyWith the formation of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, I predict that there will be a constitutional collision between the Obama administration and Congress — one that the executive will eventually win.  

Obama’s aides will refuse to testify on sensitive matters involving the facts of the 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate, which killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and several other U.S. officials. While some of the information might be protected by executive privilege, most of it isn’t. But even if Congress holds the witnesses in contempt, there is little doubt that Attorney General Eric Holder — who himself has already been held in contempt of Congress — will order prosecutors to refuse to enforce the legislative branch’s judgment in federal court.

This administration, after all, has systematically refused to enforce federal laws to suit its own political agenda — in contrast to the few occasions in the past where presidents have questioned federal law for constitutional reasons. Unless Congress uses its own inherent power to enforce contempt, to which it has not turned in many years, the Obama administration may be able to run out the clock on Benghazi, waiting for the next presidential election.

If you’re interested in a more thorough analysis of the dynamic at work here, you can read this piece I recently wrote for the Library of Law and Liberty.

There are 9 comments.

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  1. george.tobin@yahoo.com Moderator
    george.tobin@yahoo.com
    @OldBathos

    It is interesting to note how the system breaks down if those in power are pretty brazen about refusing to submit to accountability of any kind.  The Congress almost backed into the impeachment of Pres. Clinton because so many expected that publicization of base, dishonorable behahvior would naturally lead to resignation to protect the dignity of the office.  This administration is far worse because the brazenness is accompanied by overt ideological contempt for the sheer inconvenience of Constitutional limits and a ridiculous messianic transformational narrative.  The more Gowdy drills to the essence, the more brazenly defiant, dishonest and high volume the response.  Without a person of honor to be a whistleblower or a sudden transformation amoung Congessional Democrats that there may be issues that transcend partisan advantage, I don’t a chance for an honorable, satisfactory outcome.

    • #1
  2. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    What’s the alternative besides just giving up?

    • #2
  3. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Nick Stuart:

    What’s the alternative besides just giving up?

    Wood Chipper?   I wish there was a decent way to actually have the truth.

    • #3
  4. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Old Bathos:

    “sudden transformation among Congressional Democrats that there may be issues that transcend partisan advantage,”

    Never going to happen.

    • #4
  5. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    I would never second-guess Dr. Yoo’s analysis of legal/constitutional matters, but it seems to me that the outcome of the hearings don’t necessarily boil down to the question of executive privilege. Even a strategy of stonewalling would have to be executed selectively. There is the possibility that one or more witnesses errs in his execution of the stonewall strategy, opening new avenues of questioning and altering the cost/benefit equation for other witnesses in a dynamic process. The Obama house of cards is vulnerable to being undermined by even small bits of truth with potential to cascade over the course of proceedings.

    Obama/Holder may be able to hide the “smoking gun,” but if their narrative is rendered nonsensical by information that contradicts it, Obama/Holder/Clinton and Dems who don’t jump ship will be damned in the court of public opinion. Proof of guilt is not required.

    • #5
  6. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Rico, I agree.   Nixon went down and sooner or later, complicit media or not, folks who have been busy doing crimes will pay the piper.

    • #6
  7. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Not a clash. A ruckus, as the king continues to command. 

    For once, Yoo acknowledges that the rule of law has taken a backseat to power. Holder has the power and he won’t use it against Obama. Consequently, Obama will proceed in this manner — outside the law, but not so far beyond the boundaries to incite revolution; not quite a king, but certainly not a president. 

    Give them an inch, they will take a government.

    • #7
  8. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Depressing to read but it is the way they work things out at the White House. It’s good analysis, John.
    Rico, I think you also might have something. These things are unpredictable and the political theater has a logic all of its own. I would love to see whistle blowers come out of hiding.
    But, even if they get someone interesting in their sights, the history of Susan MacDougal shows the way it’s done. Tough it out and scumbag presidents will show their loyalty back to you and give you a pardon. That pardon is the carrot and the stick is that you will get the Sarah Palin or Clarence Thomas treatment.

    • #8
  9. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Larry Koler:

    … Rico, I think you also might have something. These things are unpredictable and the political theater has a logic all of its own. I would love to see whistle blowers come out of hiding. But, even if they get someone interesting in their sights, the history of Susan MacDougal shows the way it’s done. Tough it out and scumbag presidents will show their loyalty back to you and give you a pardon. That pardon is the carrot and the stick is that you will get the Sarah Palin or Clarence Thomas treatment.

     I agree that carrot/stick is a major impediment to unearthing truth; and O’s henchmen yield a mean stick. The carrot is hidden but there are certainly undetectable bottomless pockets that can be harvested with a wink.

    My hope is that there may be a few honest public servants who might come forward given the proper setting, or perhaps someone who is preparing a tell-all best-seller. There is also the possibility of someone wandering off script under questioning, unraveling O’s carefully spun tale. The important thing is to put the ball in play to enable something useful to happen.

    • #9

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