President Obama is having a bad week and it’s only Tuesday. First the Benghazi testimony carried over weekend… then we learn that the IRS targeting conservative groups was more widespread and goes higher up the ladder, and now the Department of Justice seized AP’s phone records.
The new testimony we heard from people who were on the ground in Libya shed new light into what went on there. In case you missed it – it made the Obama administration in general, and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton look very, very bad. These were not partisan politicians giving testimony, but seasoned, career foreign service officers. Regardless of what party one is affiliated their testimony should be heard and seriously considered.
Now only does it look like we have evidence of an administration cover-up, but it also confirms that officers within the Administration and possibly the President himself was derelict in their duties.
The media pretty much said, nothing to see here. I believe at the very least we have seen the end of Secretary Clinton’s political career, and it looks like she may have to head back to Washington, D.C. for additional scrutiny this time she doesn’t have a Presidential administration providing her cover.
Sam Clovis wrote last week that the Obama Administration is coming apart at the seems, and it looks like we don’t even know the half of it. Because in addition to Benghazi we learn that the Internal Revenue Service has been targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny. It was also more widespread that was we were originally told, as reported by The Washington Post.
Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved with investigating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.
IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea-party-affiliated groups, the documents show.
IRS employees in Cincinnati told conservatives seeking the status of “social welfare” groups that a task force in Washington was overseeing their applications, according to interviews with the activists.
Lois G. Lerner, who oversees tax-exempt groups for the IRS, told reporters Friday that the “absolutely inappropriate” actions were undertaken by “front-line people” working in Cincinnati to target groups with “tea party,” “patriot” or “9/12” in their names.
Be sure to read the rest. Now we also have a veteran local news anchor in Missouri claiming that he has been “hammered” by the IRS after a 2012 interview with President Obama. On top of this it is being reported that the IRS sent confidential information on conservatives to the liberal nonprofit ProPublica. We see one example of IRS coercion by the IRS in the 55 questions that were asked after the Richmond Tea Party had been waiting two years for their tax-exempt status.
They were even asked to provide the names of their volunteers.
Is this not chilling? But hey we’re told by Jay Carney that just because the IRS apologized doesn’t mean they didn’t do anything wrong. Isn’t that the point of an apology? They also said they were aware of the reports, but apparently didn’t do anything about it.
The third strike was the U.S. Department of Justice secretly obtaining two months worth of phone records from the Associated Press. AP reports:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.
In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown, but more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
If the IRS story isn’t chilling then this should be. Both stories together weaves a narrative that even has Democrats concerned. Veteran investigative reporter Carl Bernstein said that this action by the Administration is totally inexcusable.
“It is outrageous, totally inexcusable,” Bernstein told MSNBC. “This administration has been terrible on this subject from the beginning. The object of it is to intimidate people who talk to reporters. This was an accident waiting to become a nuclear event, and now it’s happened. There’s no excuse for it whatsoever. There’s no reason for this investigation, especially on this scale.”
Bernstein went on to blast a White House statement denying knowledge of the subpoena as “nonsense.”
It is known to the president of the United States that this is the policy,” Bernstein said. “To say there was no knowledge in, quote, specifically about this in the White House is nonsense. This is a policy matter and this does go to the president.”
Attorney General Eric Holder said that he has recused himself from the investigation. President Obama claims that he is a free believer in freedom of the press, but that isn’t reflected in his administration’s conduct.
These three events dovetailing together does not bode well for President Obama (this doesn’t even include Fast & Furious, Pigford, etc.). Each issue by itself brings about serious questions, but together paints a narrative of an Administration that is off the charts in terms of abusing power. Impeachment shouldn’t be taken off the table, and I don’t say that lightly. It was something I was unwilling to entertain in the past even though I disagree with the President on, well, pretty much everything. Looking back at Watergate I don’t see how Congress doesn’t move forward on impeachment articles if the evidence warrants it. The potential instances abuse are not any less serious than what President Richard Nixon was accused of.