House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) issued the following statement after the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee approved a resolution holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for his refusal to turn over subpoenaed documents related to the Fast & Furious operation:
“Despite being given multiple opportunities to provide the documents necessary for Congress’ investigation into Fast and Furious, Attorney General Holder continues to stonewall. Today, the Administration took the extraordinary step of exerting executive privilege over documents that the Attorney General had already agreed to provide to Congress. Fast and Furious was a reckless operation that led to the death of an American border agent, and the American people deserve to know the facts to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. While we had hoped it would not come to this, unless the Attorney General reevaluates his choice and supplies the promised documents, the House will vote to hold him in contempt next week. If, however, Attorney General Holder produces these documents prior to the scheduled vote, we will give the Oversight Committee an opportunity to review in hopes of resolving this issue.”
There was a great deal of speculation to the effect that Boehner would sit on a contempt vote on the House floor out of political caution, but the fact they’re scheduling it is – if you consider Boehner to be a blowin’-in-the-wind type of guy, which lots of people do – evidence that the GOP Beltway Establishment thinks they’ve got the wind at their backs where Fast and Furious is concerned.
It does seem incredibly stupid for the White House to jump in and assert executive privilege here. A number of the TV talking heads, Dick Morris included, say that in doing so President Obama has now taken ownership of the scandal – something you’d think the president wouldn’t want to do in an election year. You’ll now hear lots of comparisons to Watergate – but those are crazy.
After all, nobody got killed during Watergate. Especially not a Border Patrol agent in the discharge of his duties. This is far worse.
An interesting tidbit: if you’ve paid attention to the “White House Insider” posts at The Ulsterman Report, there was a fresh one earlier today worth musing over. The “White House Insider” is a veteran Democrat operative of some stature who comes initially from the Clinton camp and has become incredibly disillusioned with the Obama administration and regularly leaks information and insight to that site’s publisher. Whether the WHI is a real person or a composite, he does have a track record of making predictions that ultimately do come true.
I’m watching the news reports same as you. Made a number of calls back to my people in D.C. Getting many different versions of things but they all share the same thing and that is a real sense of urgency and shock at a couple of things. One is the use of Executive Privilege by the Obama White House. That makes a direct tie to the administration now. The perception of that is now the reality of it. Obama owns Fast and Furious. He can’t walk that back. It’s his. He is telling Congress he won’t hand over docs. The line in the sand was placed there by the president himself. That alone has people really scrambling now to figure out how deep this thing could go. Will it hurt the re-election. Will there be blowback against the party. Basically all the things I told you were concerns before have now become concerns. And some of them I told myself months and well over a year ago to prepare. Some listened. Some didn’t. Poor bastards who didn’t.
Second, something just now breaking out is Holder walked back a Blame Bush statement he gave to Congress just last week. Fast and Furious was nothing like anything the Bush boys did. Bush era program was much smaller and had the full cooperation of the Mexican authorities. Holder lied when he attempted to link the two and now he is already trying to correct that testimony from one week ago. This kind of sloppy mistake is a clear sign he’s in big trouble and really feeling the heat. It’s also a signal to party leaders and the White House he is falling apart on this.
Obama is saying to Congress “come and get me if you dare”. Now we gotta see if Republicans dare. It’s an election year so the White House is banking on enough Republicans in the leadership to not want to look like they are beating up too bad on Obama. They fear the race card. Part of me says they are a bunch of spineless pukes for that fear and the political operative in me understands the concern. The White House is more than willing to push that race issue much farther than we have seen already. You know what I’m talking about there.
So now we wait to see what the Republicans do. Contempt vote? How hard are they gonna fight the Executive Privilege order? Are they willing to make this a presidential election year issue? Word back to me is some are. Some don’t even care about the politics of it. They are pissed and disgusted by what this administration and Eric Holder have done. It’s a fight of principle vs politics within the Republican Party right now.
Previous installments of the WHI posts have indicated that Holder has to stay on at all costs at Justice because if he were to go it would be akin to a dam breaking – with insinuations that a lot of Obama’s Chicago skeletons would tumble forth without Holder being there to hold it together. If that’s true, you’ll see Obama going to the mat for the Attorney General right to the end.
Which is good. Because Holder is rapidly becoming an albatross around Obama’s neck with the public, and that’s only going to get worse.