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Tag Archives: Darrell Issa

Video || Lerner Takes the Fifth; Cummings Throws a Fit

Former IRS official Lois Lerner, who headed up the division that targeted Tea Party groups, took the Fifth again today during her second appearance before the House Oversight Committee, refusing to answer any questions.

It’s not that she absolutely refuses to testify. She’s haggling with the committee over whether she can get immunity for her remarks and perhaps make them in a private deposition instead of in public. Apparently it didn’t work out.

Anyway, House Speaker John Boehner threatened to hold her in contempt.

“I’ll wait for a report from [House Oversight] Chairman [Darrell] Issa about what happened and what will happen, but at some point … she has to testify or she should be held in contempt,” Boehner said.

Here she is, refusing to testify.

And that’s when the fun really began.

When Oversight ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) tried to speak up, committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) cut his mike. Cummings was supposed to be asking a question, but he then he tried to make a statement.

As Issa short-circuited his performance, Cummings had a conniption, erupting about the ruination of the republic and so forth.

Here’s the transcript, as provided by Roll Call.

CUMMINGS: Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this. You just cannot do this. We are better than that as a country. We are better than that as a committee.


I don’t care but the fact is I am asking a question. I am the ranking member of the committee and I want to ask a question.

What are we hiding? What’s the big deal. May I ask my question? May I make my statement?

ISSA: You are all free to leave, we’ve adjourned, but the gentleman may ask his question.

CUMMINGS: Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, I have one procedural question, and it goes to trying to help you get the information by the way that you just asked.

ISSA: What is your question?

CUMMINGS: No, let me say what I have to say. I’ve listened to you for the last 15 or 20 minutes. Let me say what I have to say. Chairman, I have one procedural question.

ISSA: Ms. Lerner, you’re adj — you’re released — you may …

CUMMINGS: But first, I would like to use my time to make some brief points. For the past year, the central Republican accusation …

ISSA: We’re adjourned, close it down. …Thank you.

CUMMINGS (mic cut off): … in this investigation (garbled) …

DEMOCRATS: Shame, shame

CUMMINGS: … Before our committee read a single document or interviewed one witness Chairman Issa went on national television (crosstalk) the president’s political enemies effectively and lied about it during an election year. He continued this theme on Sunday …

ISSA: Mr. Cummings … Mr. Cummings, what is your question?

CUMMINGS: If you will sit down and allow me to ask a question …

Here’s the video.

Issa Demands Answers on State Department Coverup

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is demanding documents related to charges that senior aides to Secretary of State Clinton quashed Office of Inspector General probes into misbehavior by various State Department officials.

Issa wrote today to State Department Deputy Inspector General Howard Geisel:

“The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has jurisdiction over the community of federal inspectors general. One of the Committee’s primary responsibilities in that area is ensuring the independence and effectiveness of each OIG,” Issa wrote in a letter to Howard Geisel, the Deputy Inspector General at the State Department. “As such, the Committee must thoroughly investigate the implication that the Department influenced the integrity of an OIG investigation, and the actions ofthe OIG in question.”

State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the department is looking into things. Now that makes me feel better.

Plouffe Suggests Issa May be a Criminal

The kerfuffle over House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s calling White House Press Secretary Jay Carney a liar is nothing compared to the ugly Chicago, Alinskyite politics that reared its head in response.

The very president who was supposed to be above something as pedestrian as politics has shown once again that he is in fact the ugliest practitioner of it since Richard Nixon.

“Strong words from Mr Grand Theft Auto and suspected arsonist/insurance swindler. And loose ethically today,” tweeted David Plouffe Sunday in response to news that Issa had called into question Carney’s honesty.

Obama and PlouffePlouffe’s slimy remark refers to dropped charges against Issa in the 1970s that he and his brother stole a car, and the claim of a former owner of one of Issa’s companies that Issa had intentionally burned it down. Issa was never charged with wrongdoing in the latter case. But that’s of no concern to the White House.

Plouffe, after having spearheaded the 2008 campaign and then served as Obama’s senior advisor in the White House, is today a private citizen. But thinking of him as apart from Obama’s orbit is like saying your brother’s out of the family because he went to college.

Like the Clintonites before them, the Obama White House uses outside advisors as attack dogs to keep itself looking clean. Carney Monday refused to comment on Plouffe’s remarks, as if they had originated from Mars.

But unlike other outside hit men, Plouffe is really something different.

Once in late 2009, in the White House press office, I looked up at the TV and saw a report on something controversial that was in a book just published by Plouffe, “The Audacity to Win.” I glanced over at couple of Obama press aides and said, “Is the rabbi going to be happy?” referring to Obama.

They laughed. One of them said, “He is the rabbi,” referring to Plouffe.

Plouffe is not just some former paid hack. He has served at the right hand of the president of the United States, and perhaps more than anyone is responsible for Obama getting to the Oval Office in the first place.

Given the power Plouffe wielded and probably continues to wield – who in the White House, including the president, would refuse his phone call? – the notion that he will be engaged in sordid personal attacks should be pretty disconcerting.

It’s reasonable to conclude that Ploufffe doesn’t do things that won’t be well received in the White House, and that many things he does might even have been run up the West Wing flagpole first.

This is effectively Obama roughing up his chief antagonist on Capitol Hill in the most coarse and malignant manner. It’s a sure signal to other White House allies, on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, to begin trying to destroy Issa.

And it’s a desecration of Obama’s office. Then again, that’s nothing much new.

But more interestingly, it may be a sign that the White House is much more gravely concerned about Issa than it lets on.

Carney Takes the High Road with Issa

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today immediately seized the high ground left wide open by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), repeatedly declining to respond to Issa’s charge that he is a “paid liar.” Instead, Carney used questions about the charge to launch into a discussion of President Obama’s commitment to getting to the bottom of the IRS matter.

Carney spoke this afternoon during the daily White House briefing.

I’m not going to get into a back and forth with Chairman Issa. I think what our focus is, and has been, is the need to find out all the inappropriate activity that occurred and make sure that, as the president asked, all those who are responsible and blah blah blah.

Dumb idea, Darrell.

Lerner May Have Waived Right to Take the Fifth

Guess what? The lady may have protested too much!

IRS official Lois Lerner may have waived her right to Fifth-Amendment sanctioned silence before the House Oversight Committee because she decided to issue an in-your-face statement during today’s hearing about how she never did anything wrong.

Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told Politico he plans to haul her . . . posterior . . . right back into the witness seat whence it arose.

“When I asked her her questions from the very beginning, I did so so she could assert her rights prior to any statement,” Issa told POLITICO. “She chose not to do so — so she waived.”

Lerner’s possible mistake was noticed immediately by the sharp-minded Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), a former prosecutor, who wanted to keep her before the committee.

He said lawmakers should at least be able to ask her questions about assertions she made in her statement.

“Think back to a trial,” he said. “You want to tell the jury you didn’t commit the crime but you don’t want the prosecutor to ask you any questions after you do it?”

He added: “That never would be allowed to happen.”

I mean, I’m just a caveman. I don’t understand the law. Your modern ways frighten and confuse me. But if you are invoking the Fifth Amendment right not to have to testify against yourself on the grounds that you might incriminate yourself, how does it make sense to be allowed to say you did nothing wrong? How can you, as Gowdy notes, just say, “I’m innocent,” and then be allowed to shut up and not be asked about it?

See you soon, Ms. Lerner!

Benghazi Consulate Scandal Grows

The scandal involving the possible failure of the Obama administration to adequately provide for the security of the Benghazi consulate, where U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed Sept. 11, took a new turn today as Republicans revealed that the mission in Libya was denied resources in response to requests for more protection.

In a letter to Secretary of State Clinton, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he will hold a hearing Oct. 10 to consider the pre-attack security situation in Benghazi, where threats to foreigners had been on the rise.

Based on information provided to the Committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012 . . .

In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the Committee that, prior to the September 11 attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi. The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington.

The letter demands that State Department officials appear before the committee and that State produce documents describing its actions and the information it had prior to the attack.

In an article today, Wall Street Journal foreign affairs opinion writer Brett Stephens referred to the Benghazi attack as Obama’s “3 am phone call,” a reference to the foreign crisis call then-candiate Hillary Clinton predicted Obama would get as president and be unprepared to respond to.

Except it occurred at 5 pm, Stephens notes.

That’s when the White House was made aware of an attack on the consulate and decided not too send in reinforcements for fear of upsetting the Libyans. He quotes Wall Street Journal reporting:

There was no serious consideration at that hour of intervention with military force, officials said. Doing so without Libya’s permission could represent a violation of sovereignty and inflame the situation, they said. Instead, the State Department reached out to the Libyan government to get reinforcements to the scene.

With important information like this emerging, White House and Obama campaign charges that Republicans are trying to politicize the crisis won’t work.

Instead, the Obama campaign now has its own 3 am phone call to deal with.

Issa Panel Cites Holder for Contempt

Led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the House Oversight Committee this afternoon voted Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun running operation.

After Republicans defeated several Democratic amendments seeking to water down the contempt resolution, the panel moved through a resolution of contempt on 23-17 Party line vote.

If a deal is not worked out to provide the documents – which President Obama has sealed through a claim of executive privilege – the next step will be a vote of the entire House on the contempt citation.

Obama Asserts Executive Privilege in Fast and Furious

Updated 4:01 pm ET President Obama asserted executive privilege over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun running operation, preventing their release to the House Oversight Committee. Nevertheless, the panel, led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), continued with its procedure to cite Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt for failing to turn them over.… Continue Reading

Oversight Panel to Vote on Citing Holder for Contempt

The House Oversight Committee will vote June 20 on whether to cite Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt of Congress. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who has been leading the investigation into the administration’s handling of the Fast and Furious gun running operation into Mexico, issued a statement today charging Holder with withholding evidence. The… Continue Reading

Issa Lays Out the Case for Holder Contempt Citation

But he’s not citing Holder for contempt yet. From Fox News: Republican Rep. Darrell Issa has circulated a lengthy pair of documents making the case for holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over his “refusal” to cooperate in an investigation of the ill-fated Fast and Furious operation. Issa, chairman of the House… Continue Reading

Congress Set to Cite Holder for Contempt

Congressional Republicans are set to issue a contempt citation against Attorney General Eric Holder, charging he has obstructed the Congressional investigation into the Fast and Furious Mexican gun running operation, according to CBS News. But the Huffington Post is reporting that the citation, which is would be designed to force the Justice Department to release… Continue Reading