Friday afternoon, Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz appeared on Fox News’ Megyn Kelly Show to discuss the latest news in the multi-department, criminal Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program. is willing to testify about what he knows, the Obama administration won’t let him appear before Congress. Chaffetz told Kelly that although key White House witness, Kevin O’Reilly is willing to testify about what he knows, the Obama administration won’t let him appear before Congress.
White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler sent a letter Thursday to Republican lawmakers Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley, refusing their request to speak with Kevin O’Reilly, a former National Security staff member whose emails place him in the middle of the unfolding scandal. Issa and Grassley had written to Ruemmler on March 28, asking the White House to step aside and let O’Reilly talk to investigators.
Grassley is the GOP ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Issa chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, whose members include Chaffetz.
“[O’Reilly’s] personal attorney indicated that he’s more than willing to talk to the committee, on the record, under oath”” Chaffetz told Kelly during her Friday afternoon broadcast. “It is only the White House and the White House Counsel that is saying they will not make him available.” (RELATED: Full coverage of Operation Fast and Furious)
During his time at the White House, records show, O’Reilly carried on an email conversation with Frank Newell, then the head of the Phoenix field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Their emails suggest that Newell was directly briefing O’Reilly on Fast and Furious.
In one email, Newell wrote to O’Reilly, “You didn’t get this from me,” indicating that he may have been subverting the established chain of command within the Department of Justice, which oversees ATF.
In another, Newell said, “Just don’t want ATF HQ to find out, especially since this is what they should be doing (briefing you!).”
Read the rest, and watch the video, here.
Newell, suffering from acute amnesia, was unable answer any questions about the email exchange when he appeared before the committee on July 26, 2011:
“To date, the White House has not complied with multiple congressional requests to interview O’Reilly,” Issa and Grassley wrote in their letter to Ruemmler. “Our staffers have had extensive discussions with lawyers in your office, who have represented that the White House does not perceive any need for us to interview O’Reilly and consequently will not make arrangements for him to speak to us.”
Speaking with Fox News Channel host Greta Van Susteren last week, Grassley said that while Newell and O’Reilly are friends, “it’s very, very unusual to have someone at a field office communicating directly with someone at the National Security Council.”
Grassley hinted that Newell’s poor memory about his emails with O’Reilly looked suspicious. “It’s very convenient that he’d have an absence of mind when he’s under oath in front of a congressional committee,” he said.
The constitution should get in the way of this White House, but so far, they’ve played pretty fast and loose with the Constitution; the First and the Second Amendment, and ultimately, what we are in a position to do is go past the White House and deliver a lawful subpoena, and deliver it by U.S. Marshal.