Gunwalker: Holder’s resignation is almost inevitable

**Posted by Phineas

And the only way that doesn’t happen is if he is fool-enough to stay in office, Obama is fool-enough not to fire him, and Congress has no choice but to remove him from office.

Consider: On the 4th of July, a national holiday, acting head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives gave testimony to House and Senate investigators on Operation “Fast and Furious,” aka “Gunwalker.”

Without telling his bosses.

And bringing his own lawyer, not the Bureau’s and not the Department of Justice’s.

To quote Allahpundit — Dude!

This morning, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley released a copy of a letter (PDF) they sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on July 5 about Melson’s testimony. Melson’s revelations raise even more serious issues not only about the operation itself, but about apparent attempts by the Justice Department to mislead Congress on the details of the operation.

Contrary to the Justice Department’s denials, according to Melson, ATF agents specifically witnessed transfers of weapons from straw purchasers to third parties without taking any further action. Melson claimed that it was not until the public disclosure of the operation that he personally reviewed the “hundreds of documents” related to the case. He said he became “sick to his stomach” when he learned the full story. Even more shocking is that some of the “gun trafficking ‘higher-ups’ that the ATF sought to identify were already known to other agencies and may even have been paid as informants” by agencies such as the FBI and the DEA.

Melson provided detailed information and documents to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General at the Justice Department. But that information was not given to Congress by then-Acting Deputy Attorney General James Cole. In fact, “Melson was not allowed to communicate to Congress” and “Justice Department officials directed [ATF’s senior leadership] not to respond and took full control of replying to briefing and document requests from Congress.” According to the letter Issa and Grassley sent to Holder, it was “two days after [Melson] told [Cole] about serious issues involving lack of information sharing” that the Wall Street Journal suddenly reported that Melson was about to be ousted by the Obama administration.

Emphasis added. The Deputy Attorney General is the Attorney General’s chief assistant — the department’s number two. Here is how his authority is described by the DoJ:

The Deputy Attorney General advises and assists the Attorney General in formulating and implementing Departmental policies and programs and in providing overall supervision and direction to all organizational units of the Department. The Deputy Attorney General is authorized to exercise all the power and authority of the Attorney General, except where such power or authority is prohibited by law from delegation or has been delegated to another official. In the absence of the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General acts as the Attorney General.

Think about this: Melson, head of the BATF, gave Cole, Holder’s chief deputy, “detailed information and documents,” after Melson had seen enough to make him sick. And instead of letting himself be set up as the fall-guy, he got his own lawyer –a former US Attorney– rather than let government lawyers “represent” him. Gee, I wonder why he’d feel that need?

But wait, there’s more!

In a related article, Bob Owens quotes an email from the Phoenix BATF office referencing an inter-agency meeting that shows how widespread knowledge of Gunwalker was:

The October 27, 2009 email from ATF Phoenix Field Division Special Agent in Charge (SAC) William Newell regarded a Southwest Border Strategy Group meeting that focused on Fast and Furious. It contained a laundry list of high ranking Justice Department officials that attended the meeting, including:

  • Assistant Attorney General (Criminal Division) Lanny Breuer,
  • Kenneth Melson, Acting Director, ATF
  • William Hoover, Acting Deputy Director, ATF
  • Michele Leonhart, Administrator, DEA
  • Robert Mueller, Director FBI

Four other Justice Department directors or their representatives came from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), Bureau of Prisons (BOP), U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA). The chair of the Attorney Generals Advisory Committee (AGAC) also attended the session. Their names were redacted in the released document. U.S. attorneys for all four southwest border states also attended.

With all this legal and bureaucratic firepower in one room being briefed on Gunwalker, there is absolutely no way Attorney General Eric Holder did not know what was going on, which may make the DoJ’s actions in response to requests for information from Issa’s committee Obstruction, a felony. And interference with Melson’s testimony may also be Tampering, under Title 18, Section 1512 of the US Code. (See subsections (b) and (c).)

This is why I say Eric Holder is a “Dead Bureaucrat Walking.” There is too much to indicate he is either monumentally detached from his supervisory responsibilities and thus incompetent, or (more likely) knew all along about an operation that let thousands of firearms be sold to straw buyers who were acting as cutouts for the Mexican drug cartels, in order to trace a putative “gunrunning network.” An operation that has cost at least 150 Mexican lives (1) and the lives of two US federal officers.

And thus my strong guess is that he will resign to protect President Obama, rather than be impeached and to try to head off an independent prosecutor, because I find it very hard to believe the President didn’t know, either.

LINKS: More from Moe Lane and Power Line. “El Mamito” says the Zetas buy all their weapons in the US. Given what we’re learning about Gunwalker, perhaps that should be “from the US.”

Footnotes:
(1) It’s no wonder the Mexicans are talking about extradition; I’d be screaming mad, too.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Race-baiting first black Prez: GOP trying to bring back “Jim Crow burdens”

Reprehensible:

Former President Bill Clinton Wednesday compared GOP efforts to limit same-day voter registration and block some convicted felons from voting to Jim Crow laws and poll taxes.

In a speech to liberal youth activists Wednesday, the former president called out proposals in battleground states like Florida and Ohio that could limit the voter rolls.

“I can’t help thinking since we just celebrated the Fourth of July and we’re supposed to be a country dedicated to liberty that one of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time,” Clinton said at Campus Progress’s annual conference in Washington.

“There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today,” Clinton added.

Clinton mentioned Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s move in March to overturn past state precedent — including under former GOP governors — that allows convicted felons to vote once they’ve served they’ve finished probation periods.

“Why should we disenfranchise people forever once they’ve paid their price?” Clinton said. “Because most of them in Florida were African Americans and Hispanics who tended to vote for Democrats. That’s why.”

The assertion is a bald-faced lie, and Bubba Clinton knows it. He’s just doing what he and his party do best: Shamelessly pander to “minorities” for political gain. The claim is especially ridiculous when you consider the outreach underway – led by prominent GOPers like former FL Governor Jeb Bush – to bring more Hispanic voters into the GOP fold, and when you consider the rise of black Republicans and Hispanics both in elected office and in other leadership, speaking, and activist roles over the last several years. So I guess the idea is to reach out to these voters while underhandedly trying to make it so it’s harder for them to vote?

Yeah, I’m scratching my chin on that one, too. :-?

Race cardIs anyone here surprised by this familiar line of baseless attack? Of course not. We’ve seen the race card played by the left so many times since Barack Obama started running for President (and even before that, actually – going back decades) that if we placed one race card behind another on the ground, we could circle the Earth two or three times. And now that we’re nearing Campaign 2012, the Democrats are cranking up their efforts tenfold at throwing the race card into the mix because Barack Obama’s poll numbers are in the tank, and left wing movers and shakers are desperate to give their disappointed but faithful diehards motivation to go out to the polls next year in an effort to put our celebrity President back in office for another four years. Even the President himself has shown that he is not above playing the race card if it means he can bring in a tidy sum of campaign ca$h can be gained in the process. $-)

It is gutter tactics like these, which Bill and Hillary both have used before, that kept me from feeling sorry for them in 2008 when candidate Barack Obama’s campaign slyly and effectively (and bogusly) used it against them. Being falsely accused of racism is something that conservatives have gotten used to happening over the years, so it was easy to identify with what was happening to Bill and Hillary Clinton when Barack Obama’s campaign – and his prominent supporters – essentially accused him of being no better than “racist Republicans” when it came to criticism of “The One.”

Clinton went on to add:

“Why is all of this going on? This is not rocket science. They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate,” Clinton said.

And just how did they engineer the 2010 elections to suppress the black and Hispanic vote, considering the voting proposals Clinton whines about weren’t even on the table – because Republicans weren’t yet in positions to put them there??

My co-blogger, as usual, hits a homerun:

This is obviously a coordinated Democratic strategy to fight any effort to shore up the integrity of the voting system. They have to resort to waving the bloody shirt of racism because they have no honest argument for opposing something as reasonable as presenting a photo ID when voting, because to be honest would be to admit they want to make fraudulent voting as easy as possible so they can cheat their way to victory.

Yep, and it’s also a way of keeping the race card out there front and center in the minds of the American voter – especially the “minority” American voter. Because they know they can’t survive without it.

PS: I wonder if Clinton clued his audience in on just which party it was who introduced Jim Crow laws in the first place? Nah …

Race card image courtesy of Greg Groesch/The Washington Times.

#AskObama on Twitter!

**Posted by Phineas

Here’s your chance to ask the President the questions you’ve always wanted to ask him. He’s holding a town hall on Twitter today at 11AM PST, and questions can be submitted via the service using the hashtag #AskObama. (Just remember you’re limited to 140 characters.)

A lot of us have been having fun with silly or satirical questions, but you can toss serious ones in, too. We know he won’t answer ours, but it’s fun to bug whatever White House flunky is assigned the task of going through them all.

The question of the day has to be this one, though. Consider the source.

My full list of questions.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)