The wheels of justice turn slowly, especially when it comes to to the nation’s top Scofflaw, Eric Holder, but it appears justice may finally be served:
House Republicans are calling for a special counsel to determine whether Attorney General Holder perjured himself during his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on Operation Fast and Furious, Fox News has learned.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, was sending a letter to President Obama on Tuesday arguing that Holder cannot investigate himself, and requesting the president instruct the Department of Justice to appoint a special counsel.
FILE: Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill May 3 before a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing.
The question is whether Holder committed perjury during a Judiciary Committee hearing on May 3. At the time, Holder indicated he was not familiar with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives program known as Fast and Furious until about April 2011.
“I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks,” Holder testified.
However, a newly discovered memo dated July 2010 shows Michael Walther, director of the National Drug Intelligence Center, told Holder that straw buyers in the Fast and Furious operation “are responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to the Mexican drug trafficking cartels.”
Other documents also indicate that Holder began receiving weekly briefings on the program from the National Drug Intelligence Center “beginning, at the latest, on July 5, 2010,” Smith wrote.
“These updates mentioned, not only the name of the operation, but also specific details about guns being trafficked to Mexico,” Smith wrote in the letter to Obama.
“Allegations that senior Justice Department officials may have intentionally misled members of Congress are extremely troubling and must be addressed by an independent and objective special counsel. I urge you to appoint a special counsel who will investigate these allegations as soon as possible,” Smith wrote.
One question. Why does the Department get to appoint it’s own Special Counsel? I think (hope!) Fox News got that wrong.
The Hill quotes Smith’s letter directly:
“Allegations that senior Justice Department officials may have intentionally misled Members of Congress are extremely troubling and must be addressed by an independent and objective special counsel,” said Smith in his letter to Obama.
“I urge you to appoint a special counsel who will investigate these allegations as soon as possible.”
Okay, that’s not much better. I thought Congress appointed the Special Prosecutor:
A special prosecutor generally is a lawyer from outside the government appointed by an attorney general or, in the United States, by Congress to investigate a government official for misconduct while in office. A reasoning for such an appointment is that the governmental branch or agency may have political connections to those it might be asked to investigate. Inherently, this creates a conflict of interest and a solution is to have someone from outside the department lead the investigation. The term “special prosecutor” may have a variety of meanings from one country to the next, from one government branch to the next within the same country, and within different agencies within each government branch. Critics of the use of special prosecutors argue that these investigators act as a “4th branch” to the government because they are not subject to limitations in spending or have deadlines to meet.
Can someone explain this to me?
We’re not going to get an honest broker from Obama.
Legal Eagle, gabrielmalor tells me on Twitter: The AG appoints a Special Counsel, but that’d be difficult in this case.
That would be why they asked for the President to appoint the Special Counsel. Because obviously, the Justice Dept. can’t investigate itself.
Hopefully, Gabe will explain more in a post at AoSHQ, soon.
Via Oversight and Reform, Issa on Fox and Friends, this morning:
“Now Obama has to decide whether to defy Congress and create a precedent for protecting appointees who willfully mislead Congress, or submit to a special prosecutor that could run wild on his administration. I’m going to guess that Obama will defy the House, but that may not last very long, especially with Darrell Issa probing Solyndra and other potential scandals”