Thursday, May 16, 2013
Did he read the job description?
BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER RANTED, GRUNTED AND SPEWED YESTERDAY AT THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
HOLDER APPEARED TO THINK HE HAD BEEN ELECTED TO SOME OFFICE AND NOT GRASP THAT AS AN APPOINTED OFFICIAL, HE HAS A DUTY TO ANSWER EACH AND EVERY QUESTION THE PEOPLE'S REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS PUT BEFORE HIM. HE SEEMED TO THINK HE WAS ABOVE THE PROCESS AND ABOVE ACCOUNTABILITY.
AND HE NEVER KNEW AN ANSWER AS EVEN THE WASHINGTON POST POINTS OUT:
On and on Holder went: “I don’t know. I don’t know. . . . I would not want to reveal what I know. . . . I don’t know why that didn’t happen. . . . I know nothing, so I’m not in a position really to answer.”
DID NO ONE EVER TELL HOLDER THAT ATTORNEY GENERAL WAS A FULL TIME JOB? THAT IT REQUIRED ATTENTION TO DETAIL?
REACHED FOR COMMENT BY THESE REPORTERS THIS MORNING, HOLDER REPLIED, "YOU MOTHERF**KERS BETTER GET OFF MY DAMN PORCH BEFORE I SICK THE IRS ON YOUR S**TY ASSES!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
This afternoon, House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte noted that "just two days ago, it was revealed that the Justice Dept obtained telephone records for more than 20 Associated Press reporters and editors over a two month period. These requests appear to be very broad and intersect important First Amendment protections. Any abridgment of the First Amendment right to the Freedom of the Press is very concerning and members of the Committee want to hear an explanation today." Ranking Member John Conyers noted, "I'm bothered by that our government would pursue such a broad range of media phone records over such a long period of time." Conyers used the occasion to call for the passage of his Federal Press Shield bill. Appearing before the Commitee today, Attorney General Eric Holder stated he supported such a law ("I continue to think that it should be passed") in response to questions from US House Rep Sheila Jackson Lee.
Monday came the shocking news that the Associated Press had been targeting the AP, secretly obtaining phone records for the months of April and May 2012. Lynn Oberlander (The New Yorker) observed:
The cowardly move by the Justice Department to subpoena two months of the A.P.’s phone records, both of its office lines and of the home phones of individual reporters, is potentially a breach of the Justice Department’s own guidelines. Even more important, it prevented the A.P. from seeking a judicial review of the action. Some months ago, apparently, the government sent a subpoena (or subpoenas) for the records to the phone companies that serve those offices and individuals, and the companies provided the records without any notice to the A.P. If subpoenas had been served directly on the A.P. or its individual reporters, they would have had an opportunity to go to court to file a motion to quash the subpoenas. What would have happened in court is anybody’s guess—there is no federal shield law that would protect reporters from having to testify before a criminal grand jury—but the Justice Department avoided the issue altogether by not notifying the A.P. that it even wanted this information. Even beyond the outrageous and overreaching action against the journalists, this is a blatant attempt to avoid the oversight function of the courts.
From this afternoon's hearing, we'll note this section.
Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte: It was recently reported that the Justice Dept obtained more than two months of phone records of more than 20 reporters and editors with the Associated Press -- including both work and personal phone lines. There's been a lot of criticism raised about the scope of this investigation. Including why the Dept needed to subpoena records for 20 different people over a lengthy two month period? Why was such a broad scope approved?
Attorney General Eric Holder: Yeah, I mean, there's been a lot of criticism, the staff of the RNC called for my resignation in spite of the fact that I was not the person who was involved in that decision. But be that as it may. I was recused in that matter as I described in a press conference that I held yesterday, the decision to issue this subpoena was made by the people who are presently involved in the case, the matter is being supervised by the Deputy Attorney General. I am not familiar with the ca[se] -- with the way the subpoena was constructed in the way that it was because I'm simply not a part of the, uh, of the case.
Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte: It's my understanding that one of the requirements before compelling process from the media outlet is to give the media outlet notice. Do you know why that was not done?
Attorney General Eric Holder: There are exceptions to that rule. I do not know, however, with regard to that particular case, why that was or was not done. I simply don't have a factual basis to answer that question.
Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte: And it's also been reported that the Associated Press refrained from releasing this story for a week until the department confirmed that doing so would not jeopardize national security interests. That indicates that the AP was amenable to working with you on this matter. If that is the case, why was it necessary to subpoena the telephone records? Did you seek the AP's assistance in the first place? And, if not, why not?
Attorney General Eric Holder: Again, Mr. Chairman, I-I don't know what happened there with the, uh, interaction between the AP and the Justice Dept, I was recused from the case.
Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte: I take it that you or others in the Justice Dept will be forthcoming with those answers to those questions as you explore why this was handled in what appears to be contrary to the law and standard procedure.
Attorney General Eric Holder: Uh, well, again, there are exceptions to some of the rules that you pointed out. And I have faith in the people who actually were responsible for this case that they were responsible for the rules and that they followed them. But I don't have a factual basis to answer the questions that you have asked because I was recused. I don't know what has happened in this matter.
As disclosed before, I know Eric Holder. I like Eric. That doesn't mean he gets a pass here. We didn't cover Fast and Furious -- it didn't strike me as story nor was it part of our scope, sorry. Rebecca did cover it and when it was tossed out -- I believe by one of her readers -- that it was probably making me mad, she asked me for a comment and I told her she needed to cover what she believed was important and that there was no problem. (Rebecca and I are friends from college, nothing will harm that friendship.)
With that out of the way, on the above, not acceptable. Holder isn't there to be cute or funny or political or angry. He had no reason to bring up the RNC. His job is to sit there, shut his mouth until he's asked to speak and then answer the question. That is his job. And it is Congress' time, not his. So if they ask a question in the midst of a reply, he needs to be silent. He is not elected to office and he is before Congress -- before The People's House, in fact. These are the people citizens elected to represent them. So when he's insulting or silly or anything but professional, it's unacceptable. If he were a private citizen, fine and dandy. But he's unelected official appearing before Congress to answer questions. His behavior was unacceptable. (Marcia will cover more of this at her site tonight.) I don't care for Condi Rice. I don't believe half of what she told Congress at hearings that I've attended. But she's the one to hold up as the example of an official in front of Congress for the way she carried herself. No member of that administration was treated as hostilely as Rice was. That's in part because she's a woman and in part because people like Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft only served one term while Condi was there the full 8 years. But while I rarely felt she was fully honest, I never faulted her for the way she conducted herself before the Committee. And she was treated rudely. I have no problem saying that. What Senator Barbara Boxer did to her in a hearing was the rudest thing I've ever seen.
Holder's behavior also includes his press conference that he noted. But, more importantly, the interview he did with Carrie Johnson (Morning Edition, NPR) that aired this morning.
Carrie Johnson: And Holder only raised more questions when he told reporters he had seen a draft of Cole's letter beforehand. And is that normal practice when you're recused from a case?
Eric Holder: Well, no. I just wanted to see the letter. I saw the draft letter this morning and I just wanted to have an opportunity to see what it looked like so I'd have at least some sense of the case, in case there were things in the letter that [I] could talk about with the press.
Regardless, once you're recused, you stay out of it. That means you don't read a letter because, in your kind, beautiful heart, you want to help the press. I don't care. You recused yourself, you stay out of it. Recusing means you wall yourself off. You don't get to choose which parts you have access to and which parts your review. If you are recused from the matter, you are out of it.
The wall is not porous. Out of it means out of it. That also means you don't make statements of 'faith' about employees. You are out of it. You cannot offer judgments, you can offer facts. You are out of it. Eric Holder's actions are appalling because he is over executing the laws for the Executive Branch and he fails to follow the recusal.
He did clear up that when the Attorney General is recused from a case, the Deputy Attorney General becomes Acting Attorney General on that case. This goes to the issue of the law requiring Holder to sign off on the subpoena. As he explained it to US House Rep Jim Sensebrenner, Deputy Attorney General James Cole would have signed off. (There's more on that which Kat will cover at her site tonight.)
As Attorney General, he is over the Justice Dept and that means he needs to know what's going on. So when he explains that he was recused because he had been interviewed on this case, that's allowed. [Holder knew the information leaked. He was interviewed to determine whether or not he was the leak. For this reason he recused himself.] That's expected. When he's asked by Sensebrenner if Cole was also interviewed in the investigation that caused your recusal" and Holder responds, "Uh, I don't know. I don't know. I assume he was, but I don't know," you've got a problem.
He is the Attorney General. Part of recusing himself was ensuring that whomever took over also had no appearance of a conflict of interest. I have no idea whether Cole was interviewed or not. But I'm not Attorney General. That is something Holder should know. If the answer was "yes," Cole shouldn't have been put in charge? Correct. But Cole shouldn't have been put in charge -- yes or no -- before it was determined whether or not he too was questioned for the investigation. It was Holder's job to not only ensure that he had no appearance of conflicted interests but that the person who the case was handed off to did not have a conflict of interest. Eric Holder didn't do that part of his job.
Nor did he put his recusal in writing. This is an issue. It's not minor. Holder is under the opinion that all he needs to do is say, "Tag, you're it." No. He cannot just tell his Deputy AG that he is recusing himself and the Deputy AG is in charge. It needs to be formal. It wasn't. Under questioning from US House Rep Spencer Bachus, he admitted that it was not done in writing. Did he inform the White House? No, he said because it was an ongoing investigation. I'm sorry but the White House nominated Holder for the post. He reports directly to the White House, he should have informed the White House that he was recusing himself and he should have done so in writing. Holder disagrees. He does allow that it might have been helpful to have put it in writing. Bachus pointed out, "Well it would be in this case becuase you don't know when you recused yourself." To which, he replied, "Well I don't know precisely but I have said that it was at the beginning of the investigation." He also testified that he put two people in charge of the investigation as part of his recusal. Why is he staffing the investigation if he's recused? If he turned power over to the Deputy Attorney General than the DAG should be the one appointing people to lead the investigation.
We'll note more of the hearing throughout the snapshot. Wally's tackling an issue the hearing raises about Congress (he'll be writing at Rebecca's site tonight) and, at Trina's site, Ava's covering nonsense from a member and the member's failure to redeem himself.
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