Quotes of the day

posted at 10:49 pm on June 20, 2012 by Allahpundit

The Fast and Furious investigation has finally handed House Republicans a prize they’ve long sought: a legal smackdown of the Obama administration.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was able to show skeptical conservatives that his spine could stay stiff under pressure from President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder by locking arms with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on a contempt of Congress vote Wednesday. There was no daylight — at least publicly — between Boehner and Issa, a dynamic the White House was desperately seeking.

But the victories could come with a cost. House Republicans’ hot pursuit of Holder doesn’t exactly line up with Mitt Romney’s message, which he wants to keep focused on the economy. And Obama’s campaign wants to tie Romney to what he considers an extreme Republican majority…

“I didn’t want this to be a campaign issue,” Chaffetz told POLITICO in an interview, “but it should go to the courts right away. What are we waiting for? We’ve been waiting since December 2010. There are those that think it’s taken too long to get to June 2012.”

***

Unfortunately, Chairman Issa has rejected all of these efforts to reach a reasonable accommodation. Instead, he has chosen to use his authority to take an extraordinary, unprecedented and entirely unnecessary action, intended to provoke an avoidable conflict between Congress and the Executive Branch. This divisive action does not help us fix the problems that led to this operation or previous ones and it does nothing to make any of our law enforcement agents safer. It’s an election-year tactic intended to distract attention — and, as a result — has deflected critical resources from fulfilling what remains my top priority at the Department of Justice: Protecting the American people…

The American people deserve better. That is why, I will remain focused on, and committed to, the Justice Department’s mission to protect the rights, safety, and best interests of my fellow citizens and to stand by my brave colleagues in law enforcement.

***

Chairman Issa should file suit in federal court in DC and seek expedited action. There is no need for Senate action. The use of this procedure has been acknowledged by the Congressional Research Service in a 2007 study. Further, a privilege log should be sought by Issa and ordered produced immediately by the court, in camera inspection done promptly by the judge, and a final order entered compelling production of all documents for which no legitimate reason justifies Executive Privilege.

Yes, some documents may be covered by EP, but the blanket attachment of that label flouts the law and the Constitution, and harms the legitimate assertion of EP by Presidents of either party in the future. The Constitution is far too important to be subject to the caprice of this President and an AG who, on its face, wants to be free from scrutiny about why he testified falsely before a Committee of Congress.

Executive Privilege is a very important implied executive power, used in various forms since the presidency of George Washington. Therefore, it’s misuse and abuse, to cover-up wrongdoing, conceal embarrassing information, or advance a political agenda, diminishes the ability of future presidents to assert it legitimately.

***

“It’s clear that this is nothing more than a political witch hunt to distract from the fact that Republicans in Congress have no interest in focusing on what we need to focus on, which is jobs and the economy,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”…

Wasserman Schultz … claimed Republicans were taking advantage of the issue to distract from voting on two major pieces of legislation this summer involving transportation and student loan interest rates.

***

Even with his fawning press, [President Obama] will pay a price for this one. He knows this, meaning that the documents now to be withheld must be dynamite. They have to show either that Holder knew what was going on with Fast and Furious and approved it, or that he directly committed perjury in his Congressional testimony, or both. I just can’t see any other explanation for such a risky move.

Wasn’t the Washington Post just covering big time the 40th anniversary of Watergate? I wonder how much coverage this one will get.

***

President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege in the “Fast and Furious” scandal is the latest in a series of recent reminders that an incumbent president is not to be underestimated. He has substantial powers at his disposal, even when he’s wounded by a sluggish economy…

It goes in line with the president’s unilateral expansion of his discretionary authority in immigration cases, the undeclared cyber war against Iran, or the use of drones in attacks on terrorist targets, even U.S. citizens. Congress has ceded power to the White House in the last 30 years, and Republican and Democratic presidents have not hesitated to exploit the situation. In an election year, as Mitt Romney is discovering, an incumbent like Obama can stage an impressive display of presidential forcefulness…

The Republicans want more documents. It is a slow summer on Capitol Hill. A farm bill counts as major legislation. The House Republicans will take advantage of Obama’s claim of privilege to shake their fists in fury, and fill the Congressional Record with savage innuendo. But unless they bend, they’re not getting the documents.

***

Brown, earlier in the segment, had already accused Issa of “leading a lynch-like mob” against Holder.

Holder made the same accusation in December. “This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him,” Holder told the New York Times, “both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

***

Via the Corner.


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