House Panel Votes to Place Holder in Contempt of Congress

 

Eric Holder is a gift that keeps on giving — for congressional Republicans. He is bringing a unique combination of political ineptness and constitutional myopia. Politically, he is sustaining a story of law enforcement incompetence that he could bring to a quick end by providing the Hill with documents that bear no national security implications (unlike the Obama administration leaks about our counter-terrorism programs). Legally, he has given the Obama White House bad advice on the scope of executive privilege, which the Supreme Court in Nixon made clear is centered on the President’s right to discuss the most sensitive national security, military, and diplomatic matters with his aides. Either the White House is admitting that President Obama was involved in the Fast and Furious controversy (which seems hard to believe), or they are seeking to claim executive privilege to mere discussion of low-level staff with the Attorney General, which the Constitution does not recognize.

There are 12 comments.

  1. Illiniguy Member

    2 questions:

    Didn’t Holder basically throw himself under the bus, since if Obama is claiming the privilege, and Holder denied ever talking to him about the case, hasn’t he set himself up for a charge of perjury?

    Does the privilege apply in blanket fashion to all the documents Issa is asking for, or must there be a specific objection to each document?

    • #1
    • June 21, 2012, at 2:22 AM PDT
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  2. James Gawron Thatcher

    John,

    What you say is very very interesting. It seems the Obama administration’s ability to miss basic constitutional legal precedent is an ongoing story. With the ObamaCare hearings he seemed not to get Marbury v. Madison until fully redirected by staff.

    Your explanation of executive privilege makes the Holder/Obama position look legally absurd.

    I’m staying tuned in for further developments.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #2
    • June 21, 2012, at 2:25 AM PDT
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  3. Mel Foil Inactive

    It’s that darn modern technology. There aren’t enough Rose Mary Woods’ to keep up with all the automatic archiving of White House communications.

    • #3
    • June 21, 2012, at 2:28 AM PDT
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  4. Joker Member

    I’ve tried to follow, but a couple of things seem troubling.

    Watergate, involved an investigation that sought to place responsibility at a higher level, above Liddy. At this point, Holder hasn’t identified the person who authorized F&F. Nobody is pushing to blame above a mid level beuraucrat, we just have no idea. That implies that a high level indivdual approved the operation.

    The second issue is that it may just be a mid level career guy. Which means that the Holder testimony is a deliberate trap to make congressional investigators overreach. Anything unrelated to the economy directly benefits the Obama campaign.

    Romney is wise to have no aggressive position on this matter.

    • #4
    • June 21, 2012, at 2:37 AM PDT
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  5. Friction Inactive

    I don’t think that it is so much an issue of Obama and his appointees not understanding the constitution as it is their view of the founding documents. He has made it clear that he sees the constitution as a list of guidelines, more like suggestions than principles. As such, he and his staff have no problem bending or completely ignoring the supreme law. Even worse is that the Congress has let him get away with it.

    • #5
    • June 21, 2012, at 2:39 AM PDT
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  6. WI Con Member

    From a public perception standpoint, this decision coupled with the immigration action last week, helps support the image of lawlessness in this administration.

    • #6
    • June 21, 2012, at 2:45 AM PDT
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  7. DocJay Inactive
    Joker: I’ve tried to follow, but a couple of things seem troubling.

    Watergate, involved an investigation that sought to place responsibility at a higher level, above Liddy. At this point, Holder hasn’t identified the person who authorized F&F. Nobody is pushing to blame above a mid level beuraucrat, we just have no idea. That implies that a high level indivdual approved the operation.

    The second issue is that it may just be a mid level career guy. Which means that the Holder testimony is a deliberate trap to make congressional investigators overreach. Anything unrelated to the economy directly benefits the Obama campaign.

    Romney is wise to have no aggressive position on this matter. · 8 minutes ago

    A mid level person would have been outed over a year ago and punished. Eric Holder ordered this and the president approved. Proving that Holder ordered it will be easy if we could get officials on the stand. Just go up the chain and prosecute. Obama gave verbal consent only and only Holder can out him which will not happen unless Holder faces life in prison.

    • #7
    • June 21, 2012, at 2:50 AM PDT
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  8. Chris Johnson Inactive

    Isn’t there a second form of Executive Privilege, that covers deliberations? Less all-encompassing, but I read that that was the form expressly asserted today.

    Also, the committee apparently already has some of the documents they subpenaed, but they got them from some whistleblower, or whatever. As such, they apparently already know at least some of what is being withheld, but they must have copies submitted by the DOJ, to make it official. Does that requirement for copies being submitted by DOJ sound correct?

    • #8
    • June 21, 2012, at 4:14 AM PDT
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  9. Dave Carter Contributor

    I suspect that Obama and Holder are trying to run out the clock in an effort to keep some appalling information from public view before the election. Hence, the slow trickle of limited information culminating in the assertion of Executive Privilege, which they hope will bog down in the courts until after the election. Just a hunch…

    • #9
    • June 21, 2012, at 4:29 AM PDT
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  10. James Lileks Contributor

    When I saw the words PLACE HOLDER in the headline, John, I thought this was a post about the President.

    • #10
    • June 21, 2012, at 5:05 AM PDT
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  11. Mothership_Greg Inactive
    Dave Carter: I suspect that Obama and Holder are trying to run out the clock in an effort to keep some appalling information from public view before the election. Hence, the slow trickle of limited information culminating in the assertion of Executive Privilege, which they hope will bog down in the courts until after the election. Just a hunch… · 50 minutes ago

    Great minds think alike.

    • #11
    • June 21, 2012, at 6:05 AM PDT
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  12. Western Chauvinist Member
    John Yoo: … Legally, he has given the Obama White House bad advice on the scope of executive privilege, which the Supreme Court inNixon made clear is centered on the President’s right to discuss the most sensitive national security, military, and diplomatic matters with his aides. Either the White House is admitting that President Obama was involved in the Fast and Furious controversy (which seems hard to believe), or they are seeking to claim executive privilege to mere discussion of low-level staff with the Attorney General, which the Constitution does not recognize.

    Do you really think it’s bad advice, or that they’re betting (rightly) the typical voter doesn’t know the limits of executive privilege? It may be bad legal advice, but politically it plays into the Republican overreach argument if Holder is charged with contempt. 

    • #12
    • June 21, 2012, at 8:39 AM PDT
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