Today is the longest day of the year, though Eric Holder doesn't need to be told that. Mitt Romney purchased an elevator for his cars, an acquisition that seems slightly more economical when you realize that it can also be used to lift dressage horses. And a staffer for Susan Collins was fired after tweeting from the senator's account that she is not a "huge fan" of Bernie Sanders. Had the staffer followed proper Senate protocol and wrote that "I am not a huge fan of my friend, the junior senator from Vermont," they might still have a job. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, June 20th, 2012:
FAST AND FURIOUS: OBAMA ADMINISTRATION INVOKES EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE - We can't believe that there isn't a Harrison Ford movie called Executive Privilege, or at least that it's not the working title of Air Force One II ("Get off my plane... again!"). Sam Stein and Nick Wing: "President Barack Obama has asserted executive privilege in response to requests made by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who has embarked on a controversial investigation into the Department of Justice's Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program. The invocation of executive privilege allows the president to defy requests and subpoenas by members of the legislative and judicial branches for information the White House deems sensitive. Obama's decision will allow him to refuse to provide certain documents pertaining to the Fast and Furious program." [HuffPost]
HOUSE OVERSIGHT VOTES TO HOLD HOLDER IN CONTEMPT - Just to save face, the Republicans on the committee should hold a separate vote holding Eric Shinseki to be a swell dude. HuffPost: "The House Government Oversight and Reform Committee has voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress by a 23-17 vote. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced that they will bring the contempt resolution to a vote in the full House next week unless Holder hands over the documents regarding Operation Fast and Furious. Holder slammed Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the committee, following the vote: 'Simply put, any claims that the Justice Department has been unresponsive to requests for information are untrue. From the beginning, Chairman Issa and certain members of the Committee have made unsubstantiated allegations first, then scrambled for facts to try to justify them later.'" [HuffPost]
GOP House leadership is going ahead with a full chamber vote next week. From a joint Boehner/Cantor release: "Despite being given multiple opportunities to provide the documents necessary for Congress' investigation into Fast and Furious, Attorney General Holder continues to stonewall. Today, the Administration took the extraordinary step of exerting executive privilege over documents that the Attorney General had already agreed to provide to Congress. Fast and Furious was a reckless operation that led to the death of an American border agent, and the American people deserve to know the facts to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. While we had hoped it would not come to this, unless the Attorney General reevaluates his choice and supplies the promised documents, the House will vote to hold him in contempt next week. If, however, Attorney General Holder produces these documents prior to the scheduled vote, we will give the Oversight Committee an opportunity to review in hopes of resolving this issue.'
@StevenTDennis: Convenient for @presssec not to have a presser today.
Amanda Terkel points out that the Democratic Party might not have any female governors in its ranks next year: "While four Republican female governors are currently in office, the only two female Democrats -- Washington's Christine Gregoire and North Carolina's Bev Perdue -- are both stepping down after 2012... New Hampshire is the only state that even has the potential to elect a female governor in the fall. Former state Sen. Jackie Cilley and former state Senate Majority Leader Maggie Hassan are locked in a tight primary race, along with firefighter Bill Kennedy. Either Cilley or Hassan would have to win their Sept. 11 primary and then win the general election if the nation is to continue having a Democratic woman leading a state." [HuffPost]
Wisconsin Republicans are already mapping out what to do if Paul Ryan is chosen as Romney's VP. From Roll Call's Justin Worland: "With Rep. Paul Ryan's name continuing to swirl in the veepstakes mix, local Republicans in Wisconsin's 1st district are beginning to ponder the question of what might happen if the Budget chairman ends up on the presidential ticket. GOP insiders said that there has already been some discussion about who would likely vie to succeed Ryan in a special election, should he get picked by Mitt Romney and then win the White House race in November. Presumptive State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus top the list of potential GOP contenders in a district that the party would be favored to hold."
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The Federal Reserve is just about ready to help us out, maybe. Martin Crutsinger: "To spur borrowing and spending, it's extending a program designed to lower long-term U.S. interest rates. At the end of a two-day policy meeting Wednesday, the Fed also sharply reduced its forecast for U.S. growth and said it's prepared to act further to bolster the economy. It reiterated its plan to keep short-term interest rates at record lows until at least late 2014. 'If we're not seeing a sustained improvement in the labor market, that would require additional action,' Bernanke said." The Fed is prepared... to do something later, if necessary. [Associated Press]
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NANCY PELOSI GETS AGGRESSIVELY NOSTALGIC - In response to the Eric Holder contempt vote, the House minority leader waxed nostalgic about all the badass things she could've done in 2007 ("Glory days well they'll pass you by/Glory days in a tear from John Boehner's eye/Glory days, glory days"). Jen Bendery: "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is playing politics with its vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, an action she said that even she didn't seek as House Speaker when she thought someone was legitimately deserving of it. 'I could have arrested Karl Rove on any given day,' Pelosi said to laughter, during a sit-down with reporters. 'I'm not kidding. There's a prison here in the Capitol ... If we had spotted him in the Capitol, we could have arrested him.' Asked on what grounds she could have arrested Rove, Pelosi replied, 'Oh, any number. But there were some specific ones for his being in contempt of Congress. But we didn't.'" [HuffPost]
John Boehner figures out politics: "Boehner said in April 2010 that an effort by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to build GOP support for an immigration bill was 'nothing more than a cynical ploy to try to engage voters -- some segment of voters -- to show up in this November's elections.'" [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]
FORMER CHARLIE CRIST AIDE WITH FRENCH NAME DROPS OUT OF REPUBLICAN PRIMARY - We don't know what to believe anymore. Luke Johnson: "Former Sen. George LeMieux announced Wednesday that he is dropping out of the Florida GOP Senate race, citing a lack of funding and advantages of his challenger, Rep. Connie Mack. 'The establishment has thrown their support behind my competitor, Connie Mack,' he said in a YouTube video released Wednesday. 'Ahead of us in the polls, the Mack name enjoys widespread recognition that can only be matched with substantial advertising or the opportunity to debate on statewide television.'... Former Gov. Charlie Crist (R) appointed LeMieux, his former chief of staff and longtime ally, to the U.S. Senate in 2009 after Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) quit his seat. LeMieux served in the Senate until 2011. Crist ran as an independent for Senate in 2010, but was trounced by Marco Rubio. Once considered a rising star in the Republican Party for his moderate positions, Crist now works for a law firm." [HuffPost]
MARK CRITZ OPTS OUT OF THE CONVENTION - Guess the president is going to have to find someone else to introduce him. Darn. Luke Johnson: "Another Democrat from Appalachia is skipping the Democratic National Convention. Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.) said Tuesday that he will not attend the September event and will campaign in Pennsylvania instead. 'Since I was elected, my focus has been on creating jobs for people here, rather than focusing on the agendas of the political parties in Washington,' Critz said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Critz joins three top West Virginia Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Rep. Nick Rahall, who said Monday that they too, would not attend the convention. Critz, who represents southwestern Pennsylvania, has been a strong critic of President Barack Obama. Earlier in June he slammed Obama's economic speech. 'President Obama and others in Washington need to realize that we cannot spend our way to prosperity,' he said." [HuffPost]
COLLINS STAFFER FIRED FOR ACCURATELY ASSESSING SUSAN COLLINS - "U love torturing me with this shit" this ain't, but it's still indicative of just how bizarre the Senate's approach to decorum. Portland Press Herald: "This morning Collins' tweeted the following about U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., 'Good ol' @SenSanders is always entertaining. Not a huge fan. I'll give him this, the genetically modified food label makes sense.' The account administrator quickly deleted the tweet, but not before it was retweeted by several followers of Collins' feed. Kevin Kelley, Collins' spokesman, said a junior staff person with access to Collins' account 'accidentally tweeted something that the Senator would never say and which does not reflect her views.' Senator Collins' office has a zero-tolerance policy for this type of activity,' Kelley said. 'We deeply regret this error.' Kelley said that the junior staffer was fired for the tweet." [Portland Press Herald]
Life imitates Veep.
JON HUNTSMAN TO JOIN BROOKINGS, SOMEHOW FIND A WAY TO LOSE AT THAT, TOO - Huffington Post father and Ameica's most underappreciated dad jeans proponent is looking to rebound from his lackluster presidential campagin by taking up residence in an organization behind barnburners such as "Sequestration and the Nation's Defense: Prospects and Perils." WaPo: "The Brookings Institution announced today that former GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman will join the think tank as a distinguished fellow. Huntsman, who was Utah's governor from 2005 to 2009, served in four administrations, most recently as U.S. ambassador to China in the Obama administration, until he resigned in January 2011 to run for president... Huntsman joins other Brookings distinguished fellows Donna Shalala, former Health and Human Services secretary; Itamar Rabinovich, an Israeli diplomat and university president; Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania; Ambassador Thomas Pickering; and Javier Solana, former secretary general of NATO and high representative for foreign and security policy of the European Union." [WaPo]
WHAT MITT ROMNEY AND BRITNEY SPEARS HAVE IN COMMON - Aside from an insatiable love of dance and music, of course. US Weekly (uh oh...): "Pop superstar Britney Spears and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney both installed state-of-the art $55,000 Phantom Park car elevators in their homes, Us Weekly can confirm. The recently engaged singer, 30, had the lift in her old Calabasas, Calif. rental. And the politician, 65, ordered one for the $12 million La Jolla, Calif., pad he plans to renovate after the election in November. American Custom Lifts describes the elevator on their website as a 'dream for auto aficionados who like to maintain a hands-on relationship with their machines.' Says creator Brad Davies, 'They're the ultimate in luxury.'" [US Weekly]
ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE ACCUSES OBAMA OF PULLING A WARREN - TPM: "The top election official in Arizona, fresh off his flirtation with birtherism, has moved on to a strange new conspiracy theory involving President Barack Obama... The co-chairman of Mitt Romney's campaign in Arizona, Bennett made the comments recently at an event where he pleaded for local Republicans to unite behind their party's presumptive nominee for president. He told them a world under Obama is 'just very, very scary.' 'Now, I know there's a lot of people that are very skeptical as to whether he was born in Hawaii,' Bennett told the crowd. 'Personally I believe that he was. I actually believe he was fibbing about being born in Kenya when he was trying to get into college and doing things like writing a book and on and on and on.'" [TPM]
AMERICAN PROSPECT NOT DEAD - The liberal magazine succeeded doing what lefties do best: asking for handouts. Kidding! This is happy news. Michael Calderone: "The American Prospect, the liberal politics and policy magazine that was on the verge of shutting down last month, has exceeded its fundraising goal and will remain alive. Editor Kit Rachlis told The Huffington Post on Wednesday that the magazine received a grant this week that pushed its donation haul over $1.2 million, the amount needed to cover an immediate $500,000 funding gap and another $700,000 for the budget through 2012. So far, the Prospect has taken in a total of $1.29 million, a tally that includes several large donations in the six-figure-range, along with 3,800 individual donations of amounts that were mostly $100 or less." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - If you are dumbstruck by Mishka the talking Husky, you're not alone.
- Comedy Central made a live-action version of the opening sequence from Futurama. Good thing it's on the internet, or we would've missed it. [http://bit.ly/KlgnNm]
- Space is empty: Existential Star Wars. [http://bit.ly/ffw0ac]
- Is Hosni Mubarak dead. Your go-to resource. [http://ismubarakdead.com/]
- Why McDonald's hamburgers look bizarrely appetizing in ads. [http://bit.ly/Mxhdq0]
- Here is a guy named Matt dancing poorly all over the place. [http://bit.ly/KlgPeu]
- Rap lyrics in emoji because hey what not. [http://rapmoji.com/]
- Eye-catching wedding announcements (Mr. Golden and Ms. Showers have probably heard the jokes). [http://huff.to/JJBrfk]
@RealPaulWalker: Hey look, #fastandfurious is trending.#Itsnotwhatyouthink
@mollyesque: Per my inbox, today George Allen visited a local business called "Tart Lumber." I hardly even know 'er!
@realDonaldTrump: I look forward to playing golf with President @BarackObama someday.
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: There's something counterintuitive about three Republican senators attending a party at an art gallery, but we guess John Cornyn, Saxby Chambliss and Richard Burr go where the money is. [Longview Gallery, 1234 9th Street NW]
6:00 pm: The high is 98 degrees, so what better time to sink your teeth into a molded slab of piping hot sirloin? Roger Wicker meets and greets and eats meat at his third annual "Burgers and Beer" fundraiser. [330 Maryland Ave. NE]
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Hawaii Governor Laura Lingle is in town (that flight... oy) to raise funds for her Senate campaign. Expect appearances from most of the Senate's lady senators. [Johnny's Half Shell, 400 North Capitol Street NW]
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