WRITTEN BY CHRISS W. STREET
President Obama directing the arm of a Marine to hold an umbrella to protect him while he spoke to the press seemed to ooze with the symbolism of an Imperial Presidency. The common thread of the Associated Press Scandal, IRS Scandal, Benghazi Scandal, and now a revival of the Fast and Furious Scandal all speak to an Administration exercising unlimited power in the pursuit of their agenda, while also exercising unlimited power in punishing anyone that gets in their way. The Obama Imperial Presidency reminds me of the attitude of British King George III about the American colonies: “A traitor is everyone who does not agree with me.”
In the latest scandal, the Inspector General of the U.S. Justice Department, who despite reporting directly to Attorney General Eric Holder, published a new report confirming that former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke secretly leaked a confidential document to Fox News that was intended to smear ATF agent John Dodson, the whistleblower who publically exposed Operation Fast and Furious as government-sanctioned “gunwalking” to Mexico, to Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News in February, 2011. The Inspector General found: “Burke’s conduct in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to be inappropriate for a Department employee and wholly unbefitting a U.S. Attorney.” The IG referred this extremely unethical and potentially criminal behavior to the Office of Public Responsibility for determination if Burke’s actions and subsequent cover-up should result in his disbarment as an attorney and Federal prosecution.
When the Justice Department failed to respond to requests by rank and file ATF and Border Patrol Agents for an investigation, they became whistleblowers to motivate Congressional inquiries. Attorney General Holder claimed he had no knowledge of Fast and Furious, but e-mails later showed that his office was regularly informed on the program authorized the ATF to solicit straw buyers to purchase about 2,000 AK 47s and other weapons for resale in Mexico to Drug Cartels. The ATF lost track of the guns and many were found at crime scenes on both sides of the Mexican border.
The Inspector General’s report confirms that during the Congressional Investigation, senior Justice Department officials under Attorney General Eric Holder enlisted the George Soros funded leftwing-advocacy group Media Matters for America to smear whistleblowers and members of Congress to prevent further exposure of Operation Fast and Furious. The Daily Caller, through a Freedom of Information Act obtained emails sent between September and November of 2010. In the heat of the 2010 Congressional elections, dozens of pages of emails were sent by the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs Director Tracy Schmaler to Media Matters staffers to coordinate efforts to attack reporters covering the scandal. Targets included Townhall’s Katie Pavlich, Sipseystreet’s Mike Vanderboegh, Daily Caller’s Matt Boyle, and CBS’ Sharyl Atkisson.
Schmaler also emailed Matt Gertz of Media Matters to request that they attack Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips, because she didn’t appreciate Phillips asking for an investigation of Fast and Furious on Fox News. Even though Ms. Schmaler knew what Mr. Phillips said was true, she asked Media Matters to call him a liar and blame President George W. Bush. Chris Brown of Media Matters wrote a piece denying Fast and Furious had anything to do with gun control and dredging up old statements to smear Mr. Phillips a “right-wing extremist.”
The Fast and Furious Scandal seemed to end abruptly, a week after Attorney General Eric Holder became the first sitting Cabinet Secretary in American history to be held in contempt of Congress, when President Obama invoked Executive Privilege for the first time on June 20, 2012.
With Justice Department wrong-doing now confirmed by the Inspector General, Eric Holder will have to recuse himself and allow the U.S. Office of Special Counsel that is charged with investigating alleged misconduct in the U.S. Executive Branch take over any further investigations. The current Special Counsel is Patrick Fitzgerald, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney General James Comey in 2003. Mr Comey was the second-highest ranking Justice Department official during the Bush Administration.
Although advisors to King George III counseled him to negotiate a settlement with the colonies in 1780, he continued to exercise Imperial Power over Americans, because his armies had inflicted heavy defeats on the Continental forces at the Siege of Charleston, the Battle of Camden and the Battle of Guilford Court House. But in late 1781, Lord Cornwallis and 7000 Red Coats surrendered at the Siege of Yorktown. The defeat was so humiliating King George III drafted an abdication notice, which was never delivered.
The Imperial Presidency of Barack Obama is now under siege by the multiplying forces of scandal are surrounding him. His enemies are becoming emboldened and some of his former allies in the press are now traitorously attacking him. When President Clinton found himself in similar dire circumstances, he took Dick Morris’ advice to politically “triangulate” to favor deregulation, balanced budgets and declaring the “era of big government is over.” Barack Obama’s advisors will increasingly want him to triangulate toward his opposition. But it would seem very challenging for him to relinquish any of the power of the Imperial Presidency?