Attorney General Eric Holder is about to have a bad time. Nearly a year after the House of Representatives found him in contempt for failing to produce documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, the House Judiciary Committee has launched an investigation into whether Holder lied under oath when asked about the Justice Department’s recent war on the freedom of the press.
The House Judiciary Committee is investigating whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied under oath during his May 15 testimony on the Justice Department’s (DOJ) surveillance of reporters.
The panel is looking at a statement Holder made during a back-and-forth with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) about whether the DOJ could prosecute reporters under the Espionage Act of 1917, an aide close to the matter told The Hill.
“In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material — this is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy,” Holder said during the hearing.
However, NBC News reported the following week that Holder personally approved a search warrant that labeled Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen a co-conspirator in a national security leaks case.
Holder has apparently expressed remorse over Rosen, which is to be expected since he got caught and it has created another cloud of controversy over himself and the Obama Administration.
Congress may be out of session for the next couple weeks, but the IRS scandal that has plagued the Obama Administration isn’t going away. There is still a lot of concern about the targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups being expressed from both sides of the aisle, but the White House and most congressional Democrats are still pushing back against an independent investigation of the embattled agency.
But with polls showing increasing disapproval with the IRS and the scandal only deepening, more will need to be done to allay the concerns that are now being expressed by the American people. The agency knew that these groups were being targeted, even as members of Congress were asking questions, and choose to remain silent.
While the scandals that have emerged out of the IRS and the Justice Department have taken center stage over the last two weeks, the Obama Administraton’s refusal to come clean about Benghazi still remains very much an issue.
The Heritage Foundation offered a new video this week that highlighted how President Barack Obama, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other administration officials tried to spin the incident at the American outpost in Benghazi as a protest against an anti-Muslim YouTube video gone awry.
After it was revealed that it was in fact a pre-planned terrorist attack by an al-Qaeda, during which four Americans were killed, the White House and Obama Administration tried to shift away from their initial talking points. Americans have since discovered that there was political influence within the administration to avoid discussion of terrorism. While President Obama has labeled questions on the early narrative as a “side show, Heritage notes that each new answer has brought new questions.
Check the video out below:
The IRS and DOJ scandals may have taken Benghazi out of the headlines, but that doesn’t mean that Americans aren’t any less concerned. According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, 55% of Americans believe that the Obama Administration is trying to cover up the facts about the terrorist attack that claimed the lives of four Americans:
Last year’s deadly attack on a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya is shaping up as a real political problem for President Obama, with concern extending well beyond the conservative base. More than half of Americans say his administration is trying to cover up the facts of the attack, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Fully 55 percent say the Obama administration is trying to hide the facts, while just 33 percent say it has honestly disclosed what it knows of the incident. It’s not just Republicans crying foul: Six in 10 independents and nearly three in 10 Democrats say the administration is not being forthright.
Here’s a look at the results:
Unfortunately, the White House has been trying to avoid the scandal. And many of President Obama’s apologists treat Benghazi in much the same way former DNC Howard Dean does. In an appearance on CNBC last week, Dean called the concerns over Benghazi a “laughable joke.”
The White House just can’t seem to get its story together on the IRS scandal that emerged nearly two weeks ago. While they initially acted as though they’d been blindsided by the admission that the IRS had targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups, Jay Carney admitted yesterday that the White House had conversations with the Treasury Department about the impending Inspector General report:
Just a day after telling reporters that chief of staff Denis McDonough and other senior White House staff learned of the situation nearly a month ago, press secretary Jay Carney revealed Tuesday that White House officials had consulted with the Treasury Department on how to make the findings public.
The conversations “had to do with the timing of the release of the information and the findings of the actual audit,” Carney said, and were led on the White House side by Mark Childress, a deputy chief of staff.
Carney said he hadn’t revealed more information about which officials were aware of the situation and when they were informed in previous briefings because he hadn’t been asked. “I gave you the information in response to the questions, and we have provided an enormous amount of information about the communication we’ve had — who learned what about this and when, the fact that the president was not informed,” he said.
The Justice Department’s already troubling assault on the media just got weirder. Days after it was reported that the DOJ seized phone records from the Associated Press in an attempt to discover a leak from the administration, it was discovered that James Rosen, a Fox News correspondent, was the target of an investigation into a separate leak.
But the story has taken another turn for the worse. It appears that the DOJ also seized phone records from two White House staffers and five additional Fox News reporters:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” — First Amendment
Those words are straightforward. The right to free speech was respected so fervently that the framers of the Constitution saw fit to ensure that it was a constitutionally guaranteed right.
Sadly, that fundamental civil liberty was threatened last week when it was revealed that the Justice Department had subpoenaed phone records of reporters at the Associated Press (AP), an action that the news agency’s president said was “unconstitutional.”
It appears that this scandal is worse than was previously feared. The Washington Post reported on Sunday that James Rosen, Washington correspondent at Fox News, was the target of a Justice Department investigation in 2010.
This is pretty creepy:
When the Justice Department began investigating possible leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009, investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.
What happens when a senior White House official goes on a Sunday morning talk show and dimisses the scandals that have plauged the Obama Administration for the past week? He gets absolutely humiliated by the host.
During an appearance on Face the Nation, Dan Pfeiffer, a White House advisor, tried to play down the IRS and Benghazi scandals, telling host Bob Schieffer that the focus on the bad news is the “Republican playbook.”
“The point that our Chief of Staff is making is that this is the Republican playbook here, which is try, when they don’t have a positive agenda, try to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped up hearings and false allegations,” Pfeiffer told Schieffer. “We’re not going to let that distract us and the President from actually doing the people’s work and fighting for the middle class.”
While he was quick to note that he doesn’t believe the IRS scandal doesn’t have the scope of Watergate, Schieffer noted that the White House’s response to the IRS scandal is very much in vain of Nixon. “You’re taking exactly the same line they did,” Schieffer recalled.
The Department of Justice came under fire this past week for its subpoena of Associated Press phone records without any notice to the news agency or targeted reporters. While Attorney General Eric Holder claims that the action was a response to a national security threat, it was actually part of the Obama Administration’s continuing war on whistleblowers and, as many see it, a shot directly at the free press, which is protected by the First Amendment.
The controversy has brought new attention on the need to protect Americans from this sort of government overreach. on Thursday, Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), and Jared Polis (D-CO) joined together to introduce H.R. 2014, the Telephone Records Protection Act, which would protect all Americans from this sort of government overreach:
A day after criticizing the IRS over the targeting of Tea Party groups, Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, slammed President Barack Obama and the White House for not knowing about the scandals that have recently plagued the administration.
He showed that President Obama’s said that he’d heard about the IRS scandal through news reports, rather than hearing about it from officials in the agency. That, by the way, is odd since President Obama’s Press Secretary Jay Carney said yesterday that White House lawyers knew about the investigation into the allegations in April.
Stewart showed that this is actually a pattern when it comes to stories that reflect badly on President Obama and leadership failures, noting that the same line was given in response to Operation Fast and Furious. “You know,” said Stewart, “I wouldn’t be surprised if President Obama learned Osama bin Laden had been killed when he saw himself announcing it on television!”
Check out the segment below: