Extraordinary offer

Today Attorney General Eric Holder had a 20 minute meeting with Rep. Darrell Issa about the failure of Holder to comply with subpoenas for documents in Fast and Furious.


Apparently the meeting went something like this:



Issa: Turn them over or tomorrow we will hold you in contempt of congress.


Holder: I’ll let you peek at them if you will agree before you ever see them to stop the investigation after you have seen them.


Issa: I think we are done here. We’re voting on the contempt charge tomorrow.


Holder (direct quote to the media): “The ball’s in their court. We made what we thought was an extraordinary offer.”


Imagine for a moment that you or some gun shop owner had sold and/or given thousands (not the hundreds like the article erroneously says) of guns to criminal organizations who used them to murder hundreds of people include at least one if not two government agents. After finding out about it the prosecutor lets you stay out of jail and asks you a few questions and turn over documents and emails to find out who your accomplices were. You sort of comply but just enough to avoid claims that you are completely uncooperative.


Had you told the prosecutor you would turn over some more documents on the condition they stop the investigation before they ever saw the documents, what do you think the reaction would have been?


What is extraordinary here is that Issa didn’t have Federal Marshalls rip his jacket and shirt off, tie him face down on the table, stuff a copy of the subpoena in his mouth, give him 30 lashes with a bull whip, then tell him there would be a whipping every day at 9:00 AM until he fully complied or his flesh had been stripped off and his bones were polished clean.


I understand why Issa didn’t do that but had it been me I would have being showing extraordinary restraint had I only done that in the face of that level of contempt for the law and Congress. Prohibitions against “Cruel and unusual” punishments would just seem inadequate had they been able to even just read my thoughts. “Crimes against nature, humanity, and being an inspiration to Satan” would probably come up in my trial just for a glimpse of what I would have been thinking.

11 thoughts on “Extraordinary offer

  1. Sigh! Hasn’t anyone learned anything from Watergate? Does Holder really want to go down the same road as the Nixon did with the Tapes? Or is he hoping Obama will cover his Butt under “Executive Privilege” in an Election year?

    You know, it just comes down to one of two things: If there’s nothing to hide, why not give over the Documents and embarrass Issa? Good Election Strategy (if you’re a Democrat). But if there IS something to hide, then this just makes Holder look even more Guilty.

    I’m thinking there’s something to hide, and it leads to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

  2. Thinking about this, I looked up “presidential pardons” which are provided for in Article II, Section II of the Constitution. The Constitution stipulates that a president cannot issue a pardon to negate an impeachment, and if what I learned is also correct (IANAL), presidential pardons for Contempt of Congress are also prohibited. Turns out that Contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor crime, punishable by a fine of up to $1K and up to 12 months of incarceration. From what I see, only the House can charge and prosecute, with the U.S. Attorney’s assistance, Contempt of Congress. As far as I was able to determine, a presidential pardon must name the individual being pardoned and specify the act, crime or conviction for which the pardon is being issued.

    So….if Obama issues pardons to keep his buddies out of the slammer, the data on those pardons should provide a good trail for an investigator to follow. And, if Fast and Furious runs as deep (or as high) as some of think it might, there will have to be a lot of pardons issued to prevent an investigator from drilling down to the middle and lower operative level for documents and testimony.

    I’m not sure about this (again, IANAL), but I suspect we won’t see a voluntary Holder resignation because departure from DOJ would remove what protections are available to public officials; upon resignation he becomes a private citizen who must pay for his own legal defense, and can’t claim any sort of immunity.

    What would be interesting, and I think it’ll be avoided at all costs, is a flurry of presidential pardons before November 6 intended to protect the lesser guilty at DOJ and other agencies necessitated by someone finding the right crack in the facade to widen which brings down the entire structure.

  3. I agree with the sentiment, but no!

    Congress has no authority to issue subpoenas, or to hold anyone in contempt. The Constitution does not give them that power. Their judicial powers are limited to impeaching their own members and the president.

    Properly, they should create a special court to serve their needs, per article 3 section 1.

  4. Congress has no authority to issue subpoenas, or to hold anyone in contempt. The Constitution does not give them that power.

    Not specifically. It does, however, give Congress the power “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” There is a strong argument in favour of this giving them the power to subpoena at least the officials over which they hold impeachment power, and just as strong an argument that they can subpoena others when investigating those same officials, or those parts of the government which they hold oversight power over. Investigating without the power to compel testimony and the provision of evidence is pointless. Congress can pass laws giving themselves the power to issue subpoenas and hold people in contempt, because those are necessary to exercise their Constitutional powers of impeachment and oversight.

    Their judicial powers are limited to impeaching their own members and the president.

    Not true. Per Article II, Section IV: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    So the Congress’s power of impeachment does extend to the Attorney General.

  5. First of all US Marshals don’t work for Congress, so Issa can’t tell them to do anything. Second of all blanket pardons are perfectly permissable. Last of all if the Attorney General refuses to prosecute a Contempt of Congress charge, there is not anything the House can do about it.

  6. Had Holder given me that admittedly extraordinary offer…

    …well, let’s just say that “gun violence” would probably have a tiny decrease as a percentage of all violence, and leave it at that.

  7. After finding out about it the prosecutor lets you stay out of jail and asks you a few questions and turn over documents and emails to find out who your accomplices were.

    This is misleading. The documents under discussion are not about F&F. They are about DOJ’s investigation of how a factually incorrect letter was sent to Issa over Holder’s signature.

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