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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Issa pressing to talk with White House aide connected to Fast and Furious, Bill Newell

Those who have been following the Fast and Furious investigation might remember a compelling exchange Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) had with former ATF Special Agent in Charge William Newell last summer. It had to do with e-mail correspondence Newell had with a man named Kevin O'Reilly, who, at the time of those e-mails was a National Security Council staffer for the White House.

Issa's Oversight Committee is now pressing the administration for access to O'Reilly.

Via Fox News:
Two top Republican lawmakers investigating the Fast and Furious controversy are demanding the White House make a former aide available for testimony to see whether the scandal reached the upper echelons of the administration, according to a letter obtained by Fox News.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, fired off the letter Wednesday urging the White House to make available Kevin O'Reilly, a former National Security Council staffer who is currently stationed in Iraq for the State Department.

The lawmakers are giving White House staffers the deadline of April 4 to respond, with Republican aides privately saying the back-and-forth could provoke a showdown over executive privilege if the administration tries to shield O'Reilly from talking to investigators.

Issa and Grassley wrote in the letter that O'Reilly's personal lawyer has told them that he would permit his client to speak to the lawmakers as long as the White House does not object, and they are willing to do the interview by phone to accommodate O'Reilly's work.
That last paragraph is very telling. It shows that O'Reilly is not willing to fall completely on the White House's sword. By taking that stance, he is necessarily implicating the Obama administration as being complicit in the stonewall if he is not permitted to testify.

HERE is a copy of the letter from Issa and Grassley to White House Counsel, Kathryn Ruemmler.

Below is video of the July 26, 2011 exchange between SAC Newell, Gowdy, and Issa about the former's e-mail correspondence with O'Reilly.

Video: Virginia Atty General on Severability Clause not being in Obamacare

There seems to be prevailing sentiment that the Individual mandate in Obamacare is in serious trouble after three days of arguments in front of the Supreme Court. That may drive a stake in the heart of the Obamacare vampire but this thing is so ugly, it's likely to still become a zombie if the entire law isn't thrown out. That's what the Severability Clause is all about. Had it been in there - and according to Cuccinelli below - it was but the Senate took it out, the ability to take out the mandate and leave in the rest would be much easier to do.

In this exchange with Fox's Greta Van Susteren, Virginia's Attorney General - Ken Cuccinelli - argues just that. Early last year, one U.S. District Court actually ruled this way. Judge Roger Vinson first found the Individual mandate Unconstitutional and ruled that because there is no severability clause - which allows part of the law to go and part of it to stay - the entire law had to be thrown out.

This decision shouldn't rest on one person but because SCOTUS already has four left wing ideologues on the bench, including one - Elena Kagan - who helped craft the Obamacare monstrosity and refused to recuse herself, it probably will. If it's unconstitutional, it should be a 9-0 ruling but ideology trumps just about everything these days.

h/t GWP

If this law is struck down in its entirety, the election of Scott Brown - which was thought to be rendered irrelevant when this bill passed - could actually prove to be one of the greatest Tea Party victories in Obama's first term. His election after the passing of Ted Kennedy took away the Democrats' filibuster-proof majority and they couldn't take the bill up for another vote to make it more ironclad. Instead, they went for the reconciliation process, which required a vote of 51 instead of 60.

In short, it's quite possible that if Kennedy had not expired, the Supreme Court could have a much more difficult time ruling Obamacare unconstitutional.

Perhaps this video might help explain why...

Video: CNN's Jeffrey Toobin gives wrap-up Assessment of Obamacare Arguments at SCOTUS

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin has been the network's go-to guy after each of the three days of legal arguments on Obamacare in front of the Supreme Court. Every time they've gotten his take, he said it was either a "train wreck" or a "plane wreck" for the Obama administration. Before you take heart, remember, it IS CNN. That said, he REALLY went out on a limb if he was trying to make it look worse than it was.

The lynchpin of the law - the individual mandate - is all but gone, according to Toobin. He's even saying that scrapping the entire law is a possibility for two reasons. One, the individual mandate is the lynchpin and two, there is no severability clause in the law.

Here is Toobin after the final day of arguments. He does a very good job of explaining what happens now. Each of the nine Justices will vote on Friday so they will all know how this is likely going to go before the weekend. We won't know until the end of June.

h/t Hapblog
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