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

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Videos: Eric Holder singing a different tune after Contempt Hearing announcement

Yesterday, it was learned that Darrell Issa had set a date for a hearing to determine if Attorney General Eric Holder is in Contempt of Congress. Today, while appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder told Ranking member Charles Grassley that he is:
"...offering to sit down, I myself, am offering to sit down with the Speaker, the Chairman, with you, whoever, to try to work our way through this in an attempt to avoid a Constitutional crisis."
That crack about a "constitutional crisis" notwithstanding, Holder sang a far different tune when in front of the House Oversight Committee during an exchange with Rep. Jason Chaffetz last week, before the June 20th Contempt hearing was announced yesterday.

First up, Holder's exchange with Grassley today, via Fox News:

Now, take a look at the first half of this exchange between Chaffetz and Holder on June 7th, keeping in mind that the contempt hearing had not yet been announced. Chaffetz makes several attempts to get Holder to agree to sit down with himself, Rep. Trey Gowdy, and a couple of lapdog Democrats to work through the wiretap applications that all parties have read and are in possession of. When Holder says that he isn't allowed to do so because the wiretaps are sealed under court order, Chaffetz concedes the point and then asks the AG if he would be willing to meet personally to discuss all of the other aspects of Fast and Furious.

Holder balks and points to all of the times he has been in front of various committees to answer questions saying (at the 3:30 mark):
"With all due respect, I give you four hours at a crack on eight separate occasions. I'm not sure I have an awful lot more to say."
Chaffetz was overly polite and Holder basically told him no but again, that was before the contempt hearing was announced.

Now, the Daily Caller is reporting that Issa and Boehner have rejected Holder's request for meetings until the requirements of the subpoena are met.

All I can say is that I hope Boehner and Issa don't go squishy. There is a reason Holder is using verbiage like "Constitutional crisis." It is a desperate attempt at intimidation to scare Issa and Boehner into a meeting.

There's also a reason why Holder is amenable to a meeting now and he wasn't last week. That reason is, I believe, that he is finally beginning to realize that he could be in big trouble.

Video: Senator John Cornyn face to face with Holder: 'Resign'

At a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing today, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) lit into Attorney General Eric Holder. Shortly after Cornyn told Holder that the Attorney General had 'violated the public trust,' the Senator from Texas then told Holder that he should 'resign.' Clearly adding to Cornyn's anger are the recent revelations of national security leaks that have originated from the White House.

Before launching into his problems with Fast and Furious, Cornyn expressed frustration with Holder's appointment of two non-independent Attorneys to investigate those national security leaks. Cornyn is clearly not ok with these two individuals reporting to Holder directly and to make his case as to why, he segued into Operation Fast and Furious.

If Obama is behind the leaks, Holder has reason to be angry with the President because by leaking national security secrets, the White House has essentially kicked the already disturbed hornet's nest that is Fast and Furious.

Holder clearly is taking the brunt of it here, one day after it was announced that the contempt hearing would be held on June 20th.

This is a must-see exchange. The arrogance of Eric Holder is very difficult to beat.

Via Daily Caller:

JUNE 20th - CONTEMPT: Darrell Issa talks about Contempt Hearing for Eric Holder

News of a contempt hearing for Attorney General Eric Holder has been a long time coming, especially after the deadline for a subpoena issued on October 12th came and went without Holder's compliance. Over the course of several months, it became apparent that Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa was not the reason the contempt citation hadn't been issued. Eyes turned to Speaker John Boehner and House leadership, which has, no doubt, felt significant public pressure to do the right thing and give Issa the green light.

On May 18th, Boehner sent a letter to Holder that demanded compliance with the subpoena. It was nice to see but the impact of it was minimized by the sheer volume of previous letters to Holder expressing similar concerns, sent by various entities, to Holder that went unanswered or weren't complied with. Though it was nice to see Boehner cite United States vs. Nixon in his very first footnote to justify his contention that Holder comply.

After last week's House Judiciary Committee Hearing, at which Holder continued to stonewall requests for the approximately 100,000 documents the subpoena demands he produce, it looks like a date for the Contempt Hearing has been set.

Here is the statement from Boehner's office:
“The Justice Department is out of excuses. Congress has given Attorney General Holder more than enough time to fully cooperate with its investigation into ‘Fast and Furious,’ and to help uncover the circumstances regarding the death of Border Agent Brian Terry. Agent Terry’s family, the whistleblowers who brought this issue to light, and the American people deserve answers. Either the Justice Department turns over the information requested, or Congress will have no choice but to move forward with holding the Attorney General in contempt for obstructing an ongoing investigation.”
That statement was released in conjunction with the more pointedly specific statement issued by Darrell Issa, which said, in part:
“…While the Justice Department can still stop the process of contempt, this will only occur through the delivery of the post February 4, 2011, documents related to Operation Fast and Furious and whistleblower accusations subpoenaed by the Committee. If the Attorney General decides to produce these subpoenaed documents, I am confident we can reach agreement on other materials and render the process of contempt unnecessary.”
For those new to this scandal, February 4, 2011 may be the most significant date in the Fast and Furious investigation. It epitomizes the lesson learned (in some cases, not learned) during Watergate; that lesson is that the coverup is more often worse than the offense. Then again, Watergate didn't leave hundreds of bodies, including that of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in its wake so the offense in this case may ultimately be worse than the coverup.

Nonetheless, on February 4, 2011, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking member, Charles Grassley, in response to a letter to DOJ from Grassley on January 27th, that inquired about gun walking. Here is the most relevant excerpt from the letter Weich signed:
...the allegation described in your January 27 letter - that ATF "sanctioned" or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them into Mexico - is false.
On December 2, 2011 - ten months later - Deputy Attorney General James Cole sent a letter to Issa and Grassley that signified a major flashpoint in this investigation. Here is the relevant portion of that letter:
...facts have come to light during thecourse of this investigation that indicate that the February 4 letter contains inaccuracies. Because of this, the Department now formally withdraws the February 4 letter.
On December 8, 2011 - at a House Judiciary Committee Hearing - Rep. Trey Gowdy attempted to get Holder to agree that the February 4, 2011 letter was "demonstrably false." Holder insisted that it contained "inaccuracies" but nothing more.

In that same Hearing, Issa pressed Holder to "turnover communications in the March (2011) timeframe" to his Committee. Holder adamantly stonewalled, saying that his Department would not relinquish any documents that were generated after February 4, 2011. Obviously, Issa wanted them to find out who was responsible for lying to Congress in the letter signed by Weich. Ironically, it was also during this exchange that Issa invoked Watergate and compared Holder to Nixon AG John Mitchell.

We have reached a new marker in this scandal. Holder obviously thought the lesser of two evils relative to a Congressional subpoena that requested documents after February 4, 2011 was to ignore that subpoena. The next step is finding Holder in Contempt of Congress. As Issa said yesterday in his interview with Fox News (below), Holder can still prevent being found in contempt by producing the documents responsive to the subpoena. Odds are better than not that Holder will see stonewalling as the lesser of two evils in this instance too.

Nonetheless, the Contempt Hearing will convene on June 20th.

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