Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Interesting: Charles Grassley now Focusing on Lanny Breuer and Jason Weinstein

Sipsey Street Irregulars wrote about the possibility that House Speaker John Boehner was putting the kibosh on Darrell Issa's investigation of Fast and Furious. According to the site's author - Mike Vanderboegh - sources were telling him that there would essentially be a deal between Issa and Attorney General Eric Holder that would allow both men to save face while not getting to the truth.

That face saving deal allegedly was being endorsed by House Speaker John Boehner and it involves the Justice Department throwing Asst Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer and his deputy, Jason Weinstein under the bus and then allowing the investigation to quietly go away save for some  house cleaning. Though it hasn't been necessarily quantifiable, Boehner's office has undoubtedly been receiving a significant deal of heat over this charge.

In light of the claim that Breuer and Weinstein are the top two guys who will take the fall in an attempt to make the scandal go away, coupled with the pressure Boehner is receiving from the indignant followers who are demanding justice, I found Senator Chuck Grassley's floor statement on February 9th quite interesting. He set his sights on two Justice Department employees specifically. Any guesses as to who they are?

Here's a hint. The title of Grassley's prepared statement is,
"Breuer Violates DoJ Policy in Advocating for Gunwalking"
Via Grassley's Website:
Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer proposed letting guns cross the border.

His proposal came at the same time the Department was preparing to send its letter to me denying that ATF ever does the very thing he was proposing. 
In a February 4, 2011 email, the Justice Department attaché in Mexico City wrote to a number of officials at the Justice Department:

“AAG Breuer proposed allowing straw purchasers to cross into Mexico so [the Secretariat of Public Security] can arrest and [the Attorney General of Mexico] can prosecute and convict.  Such coordinated operations between the US and Mexico may send a strong message to arms traffickers.”

So, we've got people here in Washington who say the program doesn't exist. At the same time we've got people talking down in Mexico City of what we're trying to accomplish by the illegal sale of guns.
 Grassley then turned to...... Jason Weinstein
The recipients of this email included Mr. Breuer’s deputy, Jason Weinstein, who was helping to write the Justice Department’s letter to me that they would later withdraw for its inaccuracies.

Mr. Weinstein was sending updates about the draft letter to Mr. Breuer in Mexico.  Yet, during his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Breuer downplayed his involvement in reviewing the draft letter.

It is outrageous to me that the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division proposed exactly what his Department was denying to me was happening.
An interesting narrative coming out of the Oversight Committee right now has to do with Issa's team playing hardball with Holder over unsealing the wiretap applications. As that continues, pressure on Boehner would subside because the charge that Boehner is telling Issa to back down is belied by the request to unseal wiretaps.

It's interesting that the recent focus of Grassley seems to be on the same two individuals who Vanderboegh's sources told him would be part of the face saving deal involving Boehner.

To be clear, Breuer and Weinstein are definitely key players in Fast and Furious but they do not represent the high water mark of culpability in this scandal, which is why any potential deal involving their scalps only (save for some lower level ATF employees) should be perceived as a betrayal of justice.

I am not saying that Grassley is doing anything wrong or involved in any hijinks here. It's simply that if Breuer and Weinstein are part of some unjust deal, it's noteworthy that Grassley appears to be focusing on them during  his prepared floor statement.

Here is the video of Grassley's statement (Fast Forward to the 4:15 mark):

New Fast and Furious Strategy? Focusing on Wiretap Applications

If the February 2nd Oversight Committee Hearing - at which Attorney General Eric Holder appeared - revealed anything, it's that not much had changed. The stonewall was still in place and though it took some more hits, not much new ground had been broken, save for a few revelations courtesy of a White House document dump less than a week before.

However, there seems to be a new tack that is being focused on by the Committee and it has to do with sealed wiretap applications. During his testimony, Holder seemed to assert that it would be very difficult to have the contents of those applications unsealed. This has apparently roused the interest of Committee leadership.

In a letter to Holder, signed by both Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, Senate Judiciary Ranking member, Charles Grassley and Oversight Committee member Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) the case is made as to why the applications are being requested:
The contents of the wiretap applications are central in determining the level of involvement of senior Department officials during the pendency of Operation Fast and Furious. It is indisputable that gunwalking occurred during Fast and Furious, and it is therefore important to know whether any facts in the wiretap applications should have raised concerns that gunwalking, or other ill-advised tactics, were occurring. The contents of the wiretap applications are likely to resolve factual disputes about the level of detail available to senior Department officials during Fast and Furious.
This is a very interesting direction for the Committee to go in for at least one big reason.

At the hearing, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) presented holder with memos and e-mails that referred to Fast and Furious and gunwalking specifically. Holder's response was that he didn't read the memos and that Fast and Furious didn't raise red flags because it didn't mention 'tactics.'

If the Oversight Committee is able to get its hands on these wiretap applications and if they reveal that the tactics of Fast and Furious involved gunwalking, Holder has yet another problem on his hands. The harder DOJ fights the request to unseal the applications, the more likely it will be that there is something to hide.

In light of some rumblings that House Speaker John Boehner may be quietly telling Issa to back off, it will be interesting to see how far this will go. Democrats are already starting to push the narrative that there have been far too many hearings so Committee leadership needs to pick the best possible strategy to blow a hole in the stonewall and implement it.

Here is a Fox News report about the request to unseal the wiretap applications:

Here is the exchange between Gowdy and Holder that could be another flashpoint in this scandal if the wiretap applications reveal inconsistencies in Holder's testimony:

Part 2 (Fast forward to the 1:45 mark):

The subject of wiretap applications came up when Rep. Meehan questioned Holder at the February 2nd hearing. If pressed for time, fast forward to the 5:00 mark. Note that Holder attempts to dismiss the contents of the sealed applications by saying they might not contain verbiage about tactics. Meehan basically responds by ceding the point while also raising the possibility that they might.

Those who dispute the charge that this investigation may be getting quashed by House leadership could indeed point to this as a trap being slowly laid for Holder and DOJ. Holder did say here that he would work with the Committee to get the applications unsealed.

The letter sent to him requires his response by February 15th and politely asserts that if he needs a subpoena to have the applications unsealed, the Committee will provide him with one.

We shall see...

Senator 'Cornhusker Kickback' calls Obama Contraceptive Mandate 'Boneheaded'

Well, Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) has now chimed in on the contraceptive mandate controversy and has settled on calling the Obama administration's decision 'boneheaded.' He's also not the only Democrat to come out publicly against the decision.

Via ABC News:
A handful of Senate Democrats have split with President Obama’s controversial birth-control mandate and slammed the administration’s requirement that church-affiliated employers cover contraceptives.

The five Democrats in the Senate expressing concern about some parts of the administration’s policy include, most recently, Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Bill Nelson of Florida, who have spoken publicly about their unhappiness with the mandate.

“This was a bone-headed decision by HHS,” Sen. Ben Nelson said of the new Health and Human Services mandates, according to the Nebraska Radio Network.

Nelson agreed with state Attorney General Job Bruning’s decision to file a legal challenge to the mandate.
Nelson has already announced that he will not run for reelection so these comments can't be about trying to get back voter support after the 'Cornhusker kickback.'

Like former Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), Nelson was the guy in his caucus that put Obamacare over the top. Also like Stupak, he paid a price.

Calling the latest HHS rule 'boneheaded' is likely more about bitterness than anything else.

h/t Weasel Zippers
Accuracy in Media
American Spectator
American Thinker
Big Government
Big Journalism
Doug Ross
Flopping Aces
Fox Nation
Fox News
Free Republic
The Hill
Hope for America
Hot Air
Hot Air Pundit
Jawa Report
Jihad Watch
Michelle Malkin
Naked Emperor News
National Review
New Zeal Blog
News Real
Pajamas Media
Red State
Right Wing News
Say Anything
Stop Islamization of America
Verum Serum
Wall Street Journal
Washington Times
Watts Up With That
Web Today
Weekly Standard
World Net Daily

Blog Archive