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The dumbest man in Congress, Texas Representative Louie “Terror Babies from the Future” Gohmert, got all lathered up yesterday because Eric Holder said, in so many words, that Gohmert didn’t know WTF he was talking about when he asked a weird, pointless question about some tortuous Muslim-Christian persecution fantasy he apparently got from World Net Daily. So the hearing wasn’t a complete waste.
“Because of political correctness, there was not a thorough enough investigation of Tamerlan to determine this kid had been radicalized,” Gohmert said of one of the Boston bombing suspects. “On the one hand, we go after Christian groups like Billy Graham’s group - we go after Franklin Graham’s group - but then we’re hands-off when it comes to possibly offending someone who has been radicalized as a terrorist.”
Holder responded by saying that Gohmert didn’t have access to all of the facts.
“Unless somebody has done something inappropriate, you don’t have access to the FBI files,” he said. “I know what the FBI did. You cannot know what I know.”
Gohmert bristled at the suggestion that he was making false statements, repeatedly telling Holder that he “challenged my character.”
Amid all the scandals and freak-outs this week, Republicans are curiously silent about the Justice Department’s raid on Associated Press records.
Republican senators who have long been critics of Attorney General Eric Holder were noticeably muted on Tuesday when asked to respond to the news of the Justice Department seizing reporters’ records as part of a broader probe into national security leaks.
“Well, I think we need to see how this plays out,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), one of Holder’s biggest critics and who last year demanded that the attorney general resign amid the Fast and Furious gun-running probe. “I have questions about it, but I’m wiling to wait and see how this plays out, whether it was narrowly targeted or whether it was a net that was too broadly cast,” Cornyn said.
“I want to see the details — what was their rationale, why did they do it — before offering an opinion,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who earlier this week accused the administration of engaging in a “cover-up” in Benghazi. “For me, to rush to a judgment without knowing all the facts is just not appropriate.”
Republicans who are reluctant to rush to judgment? Has the Apocalypse arrived?
The political calculation’s pretty obvious here; the Republican Party and the right wing media have spent the last couple of decades demonizing the mainstream media, with special vitriol being directed at the AP. It’s not going to work for GOP politicians to suddenly flip and start defending the Associated Press now, after all that — the right wing Tea Party base would break out the tar and feathers and RINO signs.
Attorney General Eric Holder has responded to Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster filled with paranoid conspiracy theories about drones killing American citizens on US soil, with a single word.
Dear Senator Paul:
It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.
Eric H. Holder, Jr.
And now Sen. Paul is happy.
Paul said Thursday afternoon that he’s happy with the response and that he urges the Senate to proceed to a vote on Brennan’s nomination.
This is going to give the wingnuts who’ve been yelling that they “stand with Rand” a serious case of cognitive whiplash.
Kudos to Attorney General Eric Holder for telling it like it is about these Republican-sponsored Voter ID laws: Holder Calls Voter ID Laws ‘Poll Taxes’.
No wonder the right wing is trying so hard to take him down.
“Under the proposed law, concealed handgun licenses would be acceptable forms of photo ID, but student IDs would not,” Holder said, referring specifically to the voter ID law passed in Texas. “Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them, and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. We call those poll taxes.”
The Justice Department announced today that the House Republicans who voted to find Eric Holder in criminal contempt are a bunch of grandstanding buffoons.
Not in so many words, of course: Justice Department Won’t Pursue Case Against Holder.
“The longstanding position of the Department of Justice has been and remains that we will not prosecute an executive branch official under the contempt of Congress statute for withholding subpoenaed documents pursuant to a presidential assertion of executive privilege,” says Deputy Attorney General James Cole in a letter to the House speaker, John Boehner.
The letter notes that during the Reagan administration, DOJ took the position that the contempt statute could not constitutionally be applied to an official who asserts the president’s claim of executive privilege. That policy was first articulated in a memo written by Ted Olson when he was at DOJ in 1984.
Cole writes that the position has been asserted several times since then, most recently during the Bush administration in 2008.
He concludes by saying that the Justice Department has determined that Holder’s response to the House committee subpoena “does not constitute a crime” and the Department will not refer the matter to a grand jury “or take any other action to prosecute the attorney general.”
To nobody’s surprise, the Republican Party has held Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. A large number of House Democrats walked out before the vote in protest.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, gave a statement about the walk-out:
One of the things we are attempting to do is to make sure that at least a group of members of Congress express to the nation that we are non-participants in what we believe to be a calamity.
This is a terrible day for the House of Representatives. What this is about, we can’t decide for sure, but it certainly is not about Eric Holder or holding back documents. And so we did not want to participate in something that we believe has some kind of smell to it.
Eric Holder released the following statement:
In recent months, the Justice Department has made unprecedented accommodations to respond to information requests by Chairman Issa about misguided law enforcement tactics that began in the previous administration and allowed illegal guns to be taken into Mexico. Department professionals have spent countless hours compiling and providing thousands of documents — nearly 8,000 — to Chairman Issa and his committee. My staff has had numerous meetings with congressional staff to try and accommodate these requests and yesterday, I met with Chairman Issa to offer additional internal Department documents and information that would satisfy what he identified as the Committee’s single outstanding question.
Unfortunately, Chairman Issa has rejected all of these efforts to reach a reasonable accommodation. Instead, he has chosen to use his authority to take an extraordinary, unprecedented and entirely unnecessary action, intended to provoke an avoidable conflict between Congress and the Executive Branch. This divisive action does not help us fix the problems that led to this operation or previous ones and it does nothing to make any of our law enforcement agents safer. It’s an election-year tactic intended to distract attention — and, as a result — has deflected critical resources from fulfilling what remains my top priority at the Department of Justice: Protecting the American people.
Simply put, any claims that the Justice Department has been unresponsive to requests for information are untrue. From the beginning, Chairman Issa and certain members of the Committee have made unsubstantiated allegations first, then scrambled for facts to try to justify them later. That might make for good political theater, but it does little to uncover the truth or address the problems associated with this operation and prior ones dating back to the previous Administration.
I have spent most of my career in law enforcement and worked closely with brave agents who put their lives on the line every day. I know the sacrifices they make, so as soon as allegations of gunwalking came to my attention – and well before Chairman Issa expressed any interest in this issue — I ordered the practice stopped. I made necessary personnel changes in the Department’s leadership and instituted policy changes to ensure better oversight of significant investigations. And, I directed the Department’s Inspector General to open a comprehensive investigation. That investigation is ongoing, and the American people and Congress can count on it to produce a tough, independent review of the facts.
When Chairman Issa later began his own investigation, I made it clear that the Department would cooperate with all appropriate oversight requests, while still adhering to our legal obligations to protect information involving ongoing law enforcement investigations, legally-protected grand jury material and other sensitive information whose disclosure would endanger the American people or our agents investigating open cases.
The American people deserve better. That is why, I will remain focused on, and committed to, the Justice Department’s mission to protect the rights, safety, and best interests of my fellow citizens and to stand by my brave colleagues in law enforcement.
The White House has also released a statement:
At the beginning of this year, Republicans announced one of their top priorities was to investigate the Administration and to ensure that President Obama was a one-term President. Despite the major economic challenges facing the country, they talked openly about devoting taxpayer-funded, Congressional oversight resources to political purposes.
The problem of gunwalking was a field-driven tactic that dated back to the George W. Bush Administration, and it was this Administration’s Attorney General who ended it. Attorney General Holder has said repeatedly that fighting criminal activity along the Southwest Border – including the illegal trafficking of guns to Mexico has been is a top priority of the Department. Eric Holder has been an excellent Attorney General and just yesterday the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee acknowledged that he had no evidence – or even the suspicion – that the Attorney General knew of the misguided tactics used in this operation.
Yet, Republicans pushed for political theater rather than legitimate Congressional oversight. Over the past fourteen months, the Justice Department accommodated Congressional investigators, producing 7,600 pages of documents, and testifying at eleven Congressional hearings. In an act of good faith, this week the Administration made an additional offer which would have resulted in the Committee getting unprecedented access to documents dispelling any notion of an intent to mislead. But unfortunately, a politically-motivated agenda prevailed and instead of engaging with the President in efforts to create jobs and grow the economy, today we saw the House of Representatives perform a transparently political stunt.
Fortune Magazine has a truly devastating in-depth article on the Republican Party’s “Fast and Furious” scandal, definitively revealing it to be a politically driven witch hunt based on outright lies: The Truth About the Fast and Furious Scandal.
Quite simply, there’s a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.
Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.
How Fast and Furious reached the headlines is a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media today. It’s a story that starts with a grudge, specifically Dodson’s anger at Voth. After the terrible murder of agent Terry, Dodson made complaints that were then amplified, first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS. Rep. Issa and other politicians then seized those elements to score points against the Obama administration, which, for its part, has capitulated in an apparent effort to avoid a rhetorical battle over gun control in the run-up to the presidential election.
On Fox News Sunday this morning, hyper-partisan hitman Darrell Issa completely debunked his own case in the “Fast & Furious” fake outrage, saying that after an 18-month investigation costing many millions of dollars, he has no evidence at all that the White House is involved in a “cover-up.”
Could it possibly be any clearer that this controversy is nothing more than a gigantic Republican fishing expedition, desperately trying to frame President Obama in an election year?