It was reported tonight that last-minute negotiations between House staff and Eric Holder’s Department of Justice have broken down, which means that the House will proceed with a vote that should make Holder the first Attorney General to be held in contempt of Congress. CBS, like other news outlets, begins by misrepresenting the Fast and Furious program:
The Department of Justice and House Republicans have been at a stalemate regarding documents pertaining to Fast and Furious, the failed federal gun-smuggling operation that resulted in guns landing in the hands of Mexican cartels.
Fast and Furious is a “failed” operation only insofar as ATF whistleblowers have brought it to the attention of the American public. The program didn’t “result” in guns “landing in the hands of” drug cartels, that was the whole point and intention of the program from the beginning. But on to tonight’s events. Did the Obama administration make a good faith effort to avert the contempt vote?
A senior administration official said the White House officials “reached out” to the staff of House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and provided “a representative sample” of documents in question. The official said the effort “would dispel any notion of an intent to mislead Congress.”
But a Republican congressional aide told CBS News that the Republicans rejected the offer because the administration showed fewer than 30 pages of documents and that they wanted the House to put an end to the investigation and cease the threat of contempt before they could see all the documents.
This is laugh-out-loud funny. The Obama administration has asserted a frivolous claim of executive privilege with respect to an unknown number of DOJ documents. (The number is unknown because the administration refuses to provide a standard privilege log.) Now, Eric Holder wants to offer the House a “representative sample” of less than 30 pages of the wrongfully withheld documents, in exchange for which the House is asked to abandon the Fast and Furious investigation altogether! This is absurd, even by Holder standards. We don’t know how many documents the administration is wrongfully withholding, but let’s assume they comprise only 2,000 pages (an extraordinarily small number). So the administration wants to select 30 harmless pages out of the 2,000, and thereby assure the House that the 1,970 they didn’t select are also insignificant! Somehow, nearly every day during the Age of Obama, I find myself asking: how dumb do they think we are?
So the contempt citation will proceed. The Obama administration will continue to spin furiously, while the debate goes on: was Fast and Furious merely a stupid, negligent and incompetently executed program that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people and occasioned lies and cover-ups on the part of the Obama administration? Or was it something incomparably worse than that?
The Obama administration thinks Fast and Furious is no big deal. Michael Ramirez begs to differ: