Fox News is reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder has known since late summer of the affair between CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus and writer Paula Broadwell. Many find it unbelievable that President Barack Obama only learned of the situation last Thursday in light of the revelations of Holder’s knowledge of the revelations of Petraeus’ affair.
“The timing between the President’s reelection and the start of the hearings into the CIA role in the Benghazi, Libya attacks is totally coincidental” a White House source said, adding “and even if it wasn’t what is anyone going to do about it now? The election is over! Nya nya nya nya nya!”
Petraeus met Broadwell, who is is appropriately named, when the much younger woman approached him as the subject of her graduate dissertation. Once Petraeus was put in command of U.S. forces in Afghanistan Broadwell traveled there and was, ahem, embedded with the general’s staff.
For the first time in the history the United States House of Representatives has voted to hold a sitting Attorney General in contempt of congress, finding Eric Holder “guilty” of withholding documents pertinent to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigation into the “Fast and Furious” gun-running fiasco.
Holder now joins the more than 80% of Americans who hold Congress in contempt.
Seventeen Democrats joined 238 Republicans to vote in favor of House Resolution 711, for a final vote tally of 255-to-67 in favor of finding the Attorney General in contempt – even though President Barack Obama invoked his “executive privilege” to shield Holder and the documents. It was the first time Obama has used executive privilege. Almost every U.S. president has used executive privilege to deny Congress access to information – George Washington was the first in 1796 when he denied the House access to documents relating to the treaty John Jay negotiated with Great Britain. Ronald Reagan used the privilege three times. Bill Clinton used it a whopping 14 times. George W. Bush invoked the rule six times.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R – Lake Elsinore CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, spearheaded the effort to find Holder in contempt. Issa contends that Holder not only withheld subpoenaed documents, but also lied to Congress about his involvement in the gun-running scheme that ended with a border patrol agent being murdered with a weapon the government supplied to Mexican drug lords. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is also suspected of lying to Congress in a letter claiming they had no involvement in the “Fast and Furious” operation.
The contempt vote is unprecedented, and seen by many as a political tactic to attempt to overshadow administration victories in the courts on immigration and health care issues – in particular the recent Supreme Court decisions on Arizona’s immigration law and the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Some have suggested there may be racist overtones, as Holder is black and has been a particular target of Obama’s opposition throughout his first term.
Whatever the motivation, the contempt vote is unlikely to have any actual consequences for Holder, and merely sets the stage for a showdown in the courts to attempt to enforce the House subpoenas for documents. In 1974 the Supreme Court denied a claim of Executive Privilege by then-President Richard Nixon, although in that decision it upheld the general validity of the Executive Privilege power of the presidency.
Just in time to qualify for the usual “second election controversy” most presidents get – it’s really like the media and the politicians conspire to save-up this stuff to spring it at the appropriate time.
Anyway – “Executive Privilege” is the presidential synonym for “cover-up a cover-up”. This is when the administration publicly covers-up a secret cover-up. Now, if the administration has a friendly congress this will usually work. If an unfriendly one it leads to high-level “special” investigations and hearings. With a split congress it can go either way, but will almost certainly lead to total gridlock as both sides devote all their time to playing “gotcha” instead of doing the country’s business.
The administration strategy: keep playing “hide the salami” until after the election and if they win it becomes a lame-duck nuisance.
The opposition strategy: keep on-target trying to make the administration dig itself a deeper hole until there are so many outstanding questions and allegations that people go over to their side just to feel clean.
The usual outcome: lower-level bureaucrats lose their jobs, millions and millions in tax money is spent on political pissing contests, and no substantive governmental work gets done.
Senator John Cornyn (R – TX) has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign. At a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Holder said he has no intention of quitting.
“With regret, you’ve left me with no choice but to join those who call for you to resign your office” Cornyn said, obviously without regret.
“I don’t have any intention of resigning” Holder responded.
Attorney General Eric Holder and top Obama adviser David Axelrod are said to have been physically separated during a confrontation after a White House cabinet meeting. The story is told in Daniel Klaidman’s new book “Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency”.
The acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has been reassigned to a lesser position due to his involvement in the so-called “Fast and Furious” weapons fiasco, which resulted in the ATF selling literally thousands of automatic weapons to buyers representing Mexican drug cartels.
“Really the dumbass should go to prison” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “But since that might reveal my own and the Obama administration’s role in this thing, that obviously isn’t going to happen. So instead we’ve sent him to the oblivion of being a ‘senior adviser’, like in Antarctica.”