Deep rot and the art of recusal 1

If you wondered why the sky is full of flying pigs, and why the rumor is spreading that hell is freezing over, it’s because the Press and the mainstream media in general are beginning to notice that the feet of Obama are made of clay – or at least that his hands are, the persons who administer his policies.

This criticism of Attorney General Eric Holder, claiming to know nothing about his department’s illegal raid on Associated Press phone records in order to investigate the source of an information leak, comes from the pen of Dana Milbank writing in the left-leaning Washington Post:

As the nation’s top law enforcement official, Eric Holder is privy to all kinds of sensitive information. But he seems to be proud of how little he knows.

Holder was appearing before the House Judiciary Committee for an oversight hearing. He was asked –

Why didn’t his Justice Department inform the Associated Press, as the law requires, before pawing through reporters’ phone records?

“I do not know,” the attorney general told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday afternoon, “why that was or was not done. I simply don’t have a factual basis to answer that question.”

Why didn’t the DOJ seek the AP’s cooperation, as the law also requires, before issuing subpoenas?

I don’t know what happened there,” Holder replied. “I was recused from the case.”

He “recused” himself from the case because, he said, he was ” a possessor of information eventually leaked” – which leak his department was investigating. But if he had the information, was it not therefore already leaked? And what reason would there be in that for him to “recuse” himself? If he were likely to be  investigated as one of the people who could have, might have, done the leaking, he would be right to recuse himself, as he couldn’t be both investigator and investigatee. But the leak was of  a plan by the Intelligence Services. If Horder heard of it because it was leaked, and therefore had his department investigate it, wasn’t that the proper thing for him to do? Or is he afraid that not having his department investigate the leak when he first heard of it makes him vulnerable to investigation? Curiouser and curiouser!

Why, asked the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), was the whole matter handled in a manner that appears “contrary to the law and standard procedure”?

I don’t have a factual basis to answer the questions that you have asked, because I was recused,” the attorney general said.

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.”

Holder seemed to regard this ignorance as a shield protecting him and the Justice Department from all criticism of the Obama administration’s assault on press freedoms. But his claim that his “recusal” from the case exempted him from all discussion of the matter didn’t fly with Republicans or Democrats on the committee, who justifiably saw his recusal as more of an abdication. …

“[I]t seems to me clear that the actions of the department have, in fact, impaired the First Amendment,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) told Holder. “Reporters who might have previously believed that a confidential source would speak to them would no longer have that level of confidence, because those confidential sources are now going to be chilled in their relationship with the press.”

In a sense, the two topics that dogged Holder most on Wednesday — the AP phone records and the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups — were one and the same. In both cases, Americans are being punished and intimidated for exercising their right of free expression — by the taxing authorities, in the conservatives’ case, and by federal prosecutors, in the reporters’ case.

But Holder cared so little about those two issues that he said not a peep about either the IRS or the AP in his opening statement. When he was questioned about the AP case, his first response was to suggest the criticism of him was political. “I mean, there’s been a lot of criticism,” Holder said. “In fact, the head of the RNC [Republican National Committee] called for my resignation, in spite of the fact that I was not the person involved in that decision.” …

[Holder]  may have recused himself from the leak probe that led to the searches of reporters’ phone records (a decision he took so lightly that he didn’t put it in writing), but he isn’t recused from defending the First Amendment. 

Didn’t the deputy attorney general who approved the subpoenas have the same potential conflict of interest that Holder claimed?

“I don’t know.”

When did Holder recuse himself?

“I’m not sure.”

How much time was spent exploring alternatives to the subpoenas?

“I don’t know, because, as I said, I recused myself.”

But when the Justice Department undermines the Constitution, recusal is no excuse.

Strictly speaking, the word “recuse” can only apply to a judge or juror: he can recuse himself from a case because of a conflict of interest.

But Eric Holder sets a precedent that extends the application of the term.

It’s a great tactic: avoid being held responsible for whatever goes wrong in the organization under your control by “recusing” yourself. 

The head of BP might have recused himself when his company’s oil rig polluted the waters of the gulf.

The heads of Enron and Solyndra might have repelled accusations of mismanagement  by recusing themselves.

The Nazi war criminals might have escaped trial at Nuremberg by recusing themselves.

Napoleon might have avoided exile on St Helena by recusing himself.

And just think of the cosmic and historical disasters from which omnipotent “God” could claim to have recused himself!

Obama might elude responsibility for capitulating to the Islamic enemy in Benghazi, using the IRS to intimidate his political opponents, subverting the First and Second Amendments, plunging the US into deep debt, and numerous other calamities which he should be called to answer for, by simply recusing himself.

He could try it anyway, if Holder gets away with it.

*

These important points about collaboration – or conspiracy – between Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice and the nefarious group Media Matters are made by Arnold Ahlert in an article at Front Page. They show how habitual the corruption of the Obama DOJ has become:

Internal DOJ emails obtained in 2012 by the Daily Caller revealed the leftist advocacy group regularly collaborated with the DOJ to attack reporters who covered DOJ scandals.

Tracy Schmaler, Office of Public Affairs Director for the Justice Department, worked with Media Matters staffers to attack a number of prominent journalists, including Townhall Magazine’s Katie Pavlich, Breitbart.com writers Joel Pollak and Ken Klukowski, Fox News’s William LaJeunesse, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Megyn Kelly, Martha MacCallum, Bill Hemmer, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, and National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy. Former DOJ Civil Rights Division attorneys J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky were also attacked.

The Daily Caller obtained the emails after filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that was fulfilled long after the 20-business-day limit required by law.

Moreover, the Office of Public Affairs has no business conducting a political operation. Its function is to keep the public informed about what the DOJ is doing to enforce the laws. That it was more than willing to violate its mandate is a good indication of how deep the rot at the DOJ goes.

Yesterday [May 15, 2013], Eric Holder did what he does best whenever he appears before a Congressional Committee: provide as little information as possible, become indignant when anyone suggests he has acted improperly, and fob responsibility for every possible impropriety conducted by his department onto someone else – when he’s not busy stonewalling scandals. Even a contempt of Congress citation for his refusal to provide critical information in the Fast and Furious gunrunning debacle that resulted in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, along with hundreds of Mexican nationals, including children, has failed to chasten his contempt for the rule of law, or his determination to maintain the most ideologically-compromised Department of Justice in modern history.

Holder can only serve as long as he maintains the support of President Barack Obama. That he still does, speaks volumes – about both men.

  • liz

    Yeah, no kidding. Holder and Obama are two peas in a pod. Obama’s MO is exactly the same, as is his contempt for the rule of law, and his having the most ideologically-compromised administration in modern history.
    Obviously he will support Holder in doing exactly what he himself does, with the same condescending attitude, and for the same cause. I’m sure they form a mutual admiration society.
    I have never seen such bogus, childish evasions of responsibility and shifting of blame as these two display on a regular basis. They both deserve to be unceremoniously kicked out on their sorry butts for the insultingly obvious lies they so carelessly slap together, because they know they are “untouchable.”