My message? turn over the documents before a contempt vote
First some background…..I know Attorney General Eric Holder from the ‘old days’ when he was a Judge in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and I was a practicing lawyer. Judge Holder had the reputation for being fair — something that not all judges have. Judge Holder got that reputation the old fashion way — he earned it. He never appeared to have an ax to grind and appeared to want to do the right thing at all times.
Now fast forward to the present time and his steadfast refusal to turn over the documents and facing a historic contempt vote tomorrow. I don’t get it and I don’t get him. He has a ‘tin ear.’ He is creating the most unwanted mess for himself and the President. Congress has the duty to do oversight — including the right to subpoena documents not lawfully shielded by privilege.
The Obama Administration is fighting a losing battle over these documents. Their claim that this is election year gamesmanship by the House Republicans is a silly one and makes them look silly since the Republicans asked for these documents as far back as October 2011 and it is the Attorney General’s failure to turn them over that has dragged it into the election year. Americans have calendars — they can tell who has dragged something out.
My advice (free and unsolicited) is that Attorney General Holder turn the subpoenaed documents over to the House right now – even if he is right that they are covered by a legitimate exercise of Executive Privilege by the President. He gains zero by saying no…and his failure to comply with the House subpoena fuels more suspicion every day. With all that has gone on, including the DOJ letter to Congress with false information, it is rational to wonder why he won’t turn them over….is he hiding something?
If he is right that the withheld documents are of no moment — turning them over (with an agreement that this specific surrender does not waive the Executive Privilege in future similar privilege document disputes) enables him to say “I told you so….I was merely protecting the privilege.”
If he – or the Obama Administration – is hiding something in those documents, better now to release the documents than perhaps late October when the nation is only days before the election. At least if the documents are released now (assuming something bad in them) the Obama Administration will have months to do damage control before the November election.
What do you think?