I always thought Attorney General Eric Holder was a great judge... and I always thought him fair and strong -- never petty. But now? What's up? I am suspicious (and I don't want to be.)
I just read an article in the Washington Post where he claims the reason the House Republicans want the subpoenaed documents is because (1) they are seeking retribution against the Justice Department for some of its policies; and (2) as a means of attacking President Obama. Really? This is all about him and the president? And not a dead border agent? Or a co-equal branch of government doing its oversight job?
When I read the article, my first thought is, what's with the "woe is me" by the Attorney General? This is not all about him and his reputation -- this IS about finding out what happened to a murdered border patrol agent and who came up with the terrible idea to create this flawed operation?
It is petty of the Attorney General to think this is all about him and about President Obama. Man up! He needs to step back and take a long look at this. Did it ever occur to either one of them that it is about an oversight investigation to answer questions for a grieving family of a law enforcement officer and about a flawed operation? And that they are the ones trying to stop the investigation?
It is politically convenient -- and certainly not professional -- for the Attorney General to cast it in political terms. He could make this go away in seconds by complying with the subpoena. Whether the Attorney General likes it or not, Congress has oversight authority and Congress is a co-equal branch of government -- not a lesser one.
A few notable facts: this subpoena was served last October. Recently the Attorney General complained the fight is an election year game. Well... if he had complied last October, we would not be talking about it now in the election year. He is the one who pushed it into an election year. So, he needs a better line than that.
I don't know if the 'executive privilege' claim is legitimate or not -- but nothing prevented the Attorney General from raising the privilege last October so that a Court could have decided it except for him. He is the one. If the executive privilege claim is legitimate, yes, of course it should be respected and it is important that it is, but the way to find out if it is legitimate is to go to the Court and not grant interviews where we get the "woe is me." (And by the way, there is absolutely no reason that the House Republicans have dragged their feet and not taken the contempt to Court already. They voted last Thursday. It is absurd that Committee reps and Speaker now say it will go to Court 'in a few weeks.' The Court is three blocks away and it is a simple matter. It doesn't take forever to brief this and the suggestion that it is complicated and needs more time is absurd. It is either that they value their 4th vacation over this investigation or I suspect Congress hired a lawyer who they are paying by the hour... and that is what they will be getting... hours... but I am just guessing... )
The Attorney General would not be pained with his "woe is me" if indeed there is nothing in the documents of any note -- as he has repeatedly claimed. He should feel confidant and strong if there is nothing in those documents. He should professionally -- not whining -- go through the Court process and if he and the president are right about executive privilege, and/or even correct that the documents have nothing in them, I do think it fair for them to do a victory lap with an "I told you so" -- but right now, they are the ones playing politics. My advice to the Attorney General? Man up and go through the legitimate process.
But right now? He's dragging this out, and his failure to raise executive privilege months ago and his now "woe is me" is making me suspicious. As noted above, I always thought he was a good judge when I appeared before him and I respected him. I want to think he is doing this for the right reasons -- but he has, at best, been very clumsy with this -- and worst? He is hiding something. Yes, I am suspicious and his conduct doesn't make my suspicions irrational. Remember, there is a dead border agent and he admits this was very bad judgment (flawed) by the DOJ -- yet a subpoena has gone unanswered. I want to know, is the person with such flawed judgment -- the one who green-lighted this flawed operation that resulted in this death -- still working at DOJ and in a position to make other flawed judgments? We don't know.
By the way, DOJ has turned over some documents -- but ONLY the ones DOJ wanted to turn over and not the ones asked for in the subpoena. A target of an investigation, or an oversight committee has no right dictating what documents to turn over or not pursuant to a subpoena -- unless, of course, the court upholds the assertion of privilege. If the target of this investigation or any got to decide what to surrender on a subpoena then of course critical documents (incriminating?) would not see the light of day. There are reasons for a subpoena -- to compel what the person does not want to give up and not to give the target a choice.
The DOJ Inspector General is doing an internal investigation... but where is it? That report is still not out -- how long are they going to make the family wait? It is more than 18 months since the agent was gunned down. Don't tell me it takes 18 months for this. I know it could have been completed in 6 months -- or less. Everyone is just NOT DOING HIS OR HER JOB. This is not fair to the family of the dead agent.
What do YOU think? And tune in tonight to ON THE RECORD at 10pm for more about this....
Cross-posted from GretaWire.