Editor’s Note – As the recent bombshells dropping in anticipation of Peter Schweizer’s book “Clinton Cash,” the pressure is mounting on the Clinton campaign and the Clinton Foundation.
Last month the pressure was on Gowdy as well, when he apologized for taking six months to subpoena her emails.
With the new revelations about the Clinton Foundation’s practices and her possible ‘influence peddling,’ coupled with her refusal to appear privately for transcribed testimony, he has ratcheted up the pressure to force her to appear openly in front of the nation now.
It is clear, her emails are pertinent to Benghazi, but now all her emails may reveal much more about Libya and her foundations actions. There may even be a tie to Benghazi. We all anticipate the release of the book; it should be eye-opening.
Trey Gowdy asks Hillary Clinton to appear twice on emails, Benghazi
The House Committee investigating Benghazi is asking Hillary Clinton to appear for two public hearings on the 2012 terrorist attacks and her email use, according to a letter sent to her lawyer on Thursday.
This is a departure from what Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy originally requested from the former secretary of state.
The South Carolina Republican wanted a private, transcribed interview on Clinton’s email use and a public hearing on the terrorist attacks.
But Clinton had refused to appear in private to take questions on her use of a private email address while at the State Department.
Her lawyer, David Kendall, had insisted that Clinton was prepared to take questions about her emails, the server that stored them and the Benghazi attacks during a single, public hearing.
Gowdy wrote to Kendall Thursday saying the committee plans to schedule a hearing by the week of May 18 on the emails.
“If that hearing results in assurances the public record is indeed complete, the Committee will schedule Secretary Clinton’s public hearing with respect to the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi no later than June 18, 2015, with specific date being selected after consultation with you,” Gowdy wrote.
Gowdy added in the letter that he is still willing to hold a private hearing on the emails if Clinton has security concerns about answering sensitive questions in public.
The hearings, if they occur, would generate intense scrutiny on Clinton and the congressional Republicans questioning her.
Democrats will be on watch for any overreach on the part of the panel’s seven GOP members.
Any Clinton appearance on the Hill would spark a media frenzy; her recent entrance into the 2016 presidential race promises to only exacerbate it.
Gowdy said in the letter he wants to quickly schedule Clinton so her interviews are not a protracted affair.
“With her cooperation and that of the State Department and administration, Secretary Clinton could be done with the Benghazi Committee before the Fourth of July,” said Gowdy.
“It is necessary to call Secretary Clinton twice because the committee needs to ensure we have a complete and responsive record and all the facts before we then substantively question her on the Benghazi terrorist attacks.
Yesterday we witnessed a seminal moment take place in the House of Representatives that all Americans need to take seriously. We are at a critical point defined best as a Constitutional Crisis because the rule-of-law is being replaced by the rule-of-man, the definition of tyranny.
As Congressmen Trey Gowdy (R-SC) states in the videos below, we need to look at what is happening minus the labels of party and ideology. The issue at hand; the “ENFORCE The Law Act of 2014,” seeks to give the House ‘standing’ before the courts to defend its powers as assigned by our founders in the Constitution.
To defend these powers from being usurped by another branch of the government in our co-equal, three-branch system of governance is of the utmost importance for all Representatives and Senators. After all, they are the voice of the people in the House, and the voice of the several states in the Senate. Our voice should never be diminished by an executive.
In his ‘Floor Speech’ he cites instances where the President, a Senator at the time, made statements about the previous administration’s so-called grab for power.
In those statements, then Senator Obama called upon the courts for remedy to stop the perceived power-grab of the Bush Administration.
Now that he is President, there is an obvious leap in the opposite direction and the House seeks to force the President to “faithfully execute the laws” he swore to uphold and defend.
We’ve finally gotten to the point where Congress had to pass a law to make sure that the laws they pass are enforced.
In a speech that Representative Trey Gowdy really shouldn’t have had to make, he explains angrily to the Congress what its job is, and to Obama what his job is. Members were heard to applaud as he reached the crescendo.
Five Democrats joined Republicans in passing a bill that directs Obama to follows the laws – clearing the House by a 233 to 181 vote.
Now the White House is vowing to veto the bill should it pass the Senate on the same grounds. They claim it usurps the power of the Executive branch. This adds up to a Constitutional Crisis indeed. However, we at SUA do not believe for one moment that the Senate will pass it, but the ‘bell has been rung.’
Whatever Harry Reid does now will likely only varnish his reputation for being the worst Majority Leader of the Senate in modern times in terms of constitutionality, class, ethics, professionalism, and esprit de corps of the once most ‘deliberative body on the planet.’
The White House issued veto threats on Wednesday for a pair of bills reining in executive overreach that debuted and were debated on the House floor.
The Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of the Law (ENFORCE the Law) Act of 2014 puts in place a procedure that would expedite the ability of the House or Senate to sue the executive branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), a former prosecutor who introduced the bill, said a three-judge panel at the federal district court level followed by direct appeal to the Supreme Court is necessary so that the president can’t stall litigation until his term is up.
The Office of Management and Budget said in the veto threat that it “strongly opposes” the bill “because it violates the separation of powers by purporting to permit the Congress to challenge in court the exercise by the President of one of his core constitutional functions – taking care that Federal laws are faithfully executed.”
“Congress ordinarily has the power to define the bounds of the Executive Branch’s enforcement authority under particular statutes, and persons who claim to be harmed by the Executive Branch’s actions may challenge them as inconsistent with the governing statute,” the veto threat continues.
“But the power the bill purports to assign to Congress to sue the President over whether he has properly discharged his constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed exceeds constitutional limitations. Congress may not assign such power to itself, nor may it assign to the courts the task of resolving such generalized political disputes.” (Read the rest here.)
Please read the rest of her great article, but as is sometimes best, watch the videos and judge for yourself. There are two speeches to watch, the first is his introduction, and the second is his defense of the bill. Both are around five minutes long, but it is a great ten minutes total that explains in clear language what the problems are, and what the remedy is according to his seasoned, experienced view as a former prosecutor.
On the House floor, Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said the intent of Gowdy’s bill is to “abolish the powers of the presidency because you disagree with policy.”
Isn’t it ironic, that the Representative from Texas describes Gowdy’s Bill in such a way yet she is the one who thinks the Constitution is 400 years old. (From the Free Beacon)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas) declared the U.S. Constitution to be 400 years old Wednesday on the House floor, which would mean it was signed in 1614.
“Maybe I should offer a good thanks to the distinguished members of the majority, the Republicans, my chairman and others, for giving us an opportunity to have a deliberative constitutional discussion that reinforces the sanctity of this nation and how well it is that we have lasted some 400 years, operating under a constitution that clearly defines what is constitutional and what is not,” she said.
That would be seven years after Jamestown, Virginia became America’s first permanent English settlement.
We at SUA stand firmly along side constitutional scholars like Rep. Gowdy and hang our heads every time Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee tries to educate us. Texas must be very proud.
Rep. Gowdy’s Floor Speech on the ENFORCE the Law Act
The second speech ends on a note about what we pointed out after the 2014 State of the Union speech last month where the Democrats cheered as Obama said:
But America does not stand still, and neither will I. (Applause.) So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do. (Cheers, applause.)
Gowdy, and strict constitutionalists like SUA agree, it was unconscionable of the Democrats who rose and cheered as the President told them he intended to go around them. Why would they cheer about losing more of the co-equal branch’s power to the Executive?
UPDATE – As of 5PM Eastern, the House Judiciary Committee video is now view-able. Testimony begins at approximately minute 37. We have now embedded the video below.
Editor’s Note – Constitutional Crisis? Egregious erosion of the balance of power? Failure of the Judiciary to secure the balance? Failure to faithfully execute the laws? Why is the term ‘elastic power’ so important? What about the ‘guilt in the legal flaw of standing silent?’ Is there ‘Congressional despair because of the political interests’ of the President?
On Wednesday, February 27th, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the subject of Executive Branch usurpation of power and what many believe is a failure of the President and his administration to live up to their oath under the Constitution where they accepted the duty to faithfully execute the laws of the land. Professor Turley had one very important statement: “We will all loathe the day we remained silent on the shift of power.”
Did you see it? Can you see it now? Why not? It may be the most important hearing held in decades – all need to watch. It was a civics lesson extraordinaire! Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and others really probed the waters deeply in a very legal manner that was also very non-politically slanted. But where were the Democrats? Sheila Jackson Leigh did show up, only long enough to rail that the Republicans were using such terms, and John Conyers was there as well, but…you be the judge.
The hearing was chaired by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) with two panels of experts testifying and answering questions. Many of us caught parts of the almost three hour hearing and were riveted by the testimony. What was obvious from the outset was that many Democrats on the Committee did not even show up for this most important discussion about the law, the balance of powers, judicial standing, and how Americans, through their representatives can redress their grievances.
After the hearing, our staff went to the CSpan web site to download the entire video, but sadly, it was not there, nor is it there now. A call to CSpan was completely unproductive and the representative who spoke with us was not even aware that it had occurred. Incidentally, that representative hung up on us despite our very passive demeanor, we just wanted help in locating it.
We then went to the House Judiciary Committee web site and tried to view what they posted. It was there, but when we hit the play arrow, nothing happened.
Several of us, on different browsers, could not get it to work so we called them as well. The person who tried to help us successfully got the video to play on his end, but we still could not. He told us to wait another day; it would likely then be available. [The video is now available below]
Our question is hence, what does CSpan actually do, and why was the representative so callous and unhelpful to the point of hanging up on us? Secondly, why is something so very important, so hard to get to, especially when it was in direct aid by the media to get the content to the public?
What we do have is a very large Constitutional Crisis underway, and so few are paying attention. We saw some out takes on Fox News, but crickets were heard elsewhere, and we could not get access for some unknown reason. This has never been an issue in the past for our researchers.
Members of Congress and constitutional law experts testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, warning that the legislative branch is in danger of ceding its power in the face of an “imperial presidency.”
The hearing, “Enforcing the President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws,” focused on the multiple areas President Barack Obama has bypassed Congress, ranging from healthcare and immigration to marriage and welfare rules.
Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, testified that the expansion of executive power is happening so fast that America is at a “constitutional tipping point.”
“My view [is] that the president, has in fact, exceeded his authority in a way that is creating a destabilizing influence in a three branch system,” he said. “I want to emphasize, of course, this problem didn’t begin with President Obama, I was critical of his predecessor President Bush as well, but the rate at which executive power has been concentrated in our system is accelerating. And frankly, I am very alarmed by the implications of that aggregation of power.”
“What also alarms me, however, is that the two other branches appear not just simply passive, but inert in the face of this concentration of authority,” Turley said.
While Turley agrees with many of Obama’s policy positions, he steadfastly opposes the method he goes about enforcing them.
“The fact that I happen to think the president is right on many of these policies does not alter the fact that I believe the means he is doing [it] is wrong, and that this can be a dangerous change in our system,” he said. “And our system is changing in a very fundamental way. And it’s changing without a whimper of regret or opposition.”
Elizabeth Price Foley, a law professor at Florida International University College of Law, agreed, warning that Congress is in danger of becoming “superfluous.”
“Situations like this, these benevolent suspensions as they get more and more frequent and more and more aggressive, they’re eroding our citizens’ respect for the rule of law,” she said. “We are a country of law and not men. It’s going to render Congress superfluous.”
Foley said Congress is not able to tackle meaningful legislation out of fear that Obama would “simply benevolently suspend portions of the law he doesn’t like.”
“If you want to stay relevant as an institution, I would suggest that you not stand idly by and let the president take your power away,” she said.
Panelists and members of Congress dismissed the idea of impeachment, and instead focused on lawsuits to challenge the constitutionality of the president’s unilateral moves.
Four House members testified on the first panel during the hearing to highlight legislation they have sponsored to thwart the administration’s executive overreach.
Impeachment would “surely be extremely divisive within the Congress and the nation generally, and would divert the attention of Congress from other important issues of the day,” said Rep. Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.).
Gerlach, who testified before the committee, introduced H.R. 3857, the “Enforce the Take Care Clause Act,” which would expedite the review and injunction process for federal courts to challenge executive actions. Such a challenge would have to pass a supermajority in both chambers in order to be fast-tracked.
“Given the growing number of examples where this President has clearly failed to faithfully execute all laws, I believe it is time for Congress to put in place a procedure for a fast-track, independent review of those executive actions,” he said.
Gerlach said he proposed the bill due to Obama’s repeated alterations to his signature law, the Affordable Care Act.
“The ACA has been revised, altered and effectively rewritten by the president and his administration 23 times since July,” he said.
“When we have these constant changes at the president’s whim think about what that does to businesses’ planning capabilities and hiring capabilities and their expansion capabilities,” Rep. Tom Rice (R., S.C.) said. “We shouldn’t wonder why our economy is struggling.”
Rice has proposed the “Stop This Overreaching Presidency (STOP) Resolution” as a remedy. The resolution, which has 114 cosponsors, would direct the House to file lawsuits against four of the president’s unilateral actions, including the employer mandate delay in Obamacare and deferred action program for illegal immigrants.
Turley said Congress must take action to regain their power as the “thumping heart of our system.”
“The fact is, we’re stuck with each other,” Turley said. “Whether we like it or not in a system of shared powers. For better or worse we may deadlock, we maybe despise each other. The framers foresaw such periods, they lived in such a period.”
Editor’s Note – We are all anxiously awaiting the hearing set for Wednesday on Benghazi. SC-Rep., Trey Gowdy has warned us that this going to be very interesting, “explosive”, when interviewed by Fox News:
“There are more Benghazi hearings coming, I think they’re going to be explosive,” Gowdy said on Fox News. “I am bound by certain measures of confidentiality, but I would tell you that you are getting very warm,” Gowdy said when asked by a Fox News anchor during an interview whether witnesses could be coming forward. When asked about the hearings Gowdy replied they, “are coming sooner rather than later.” (Read more here.)
Additionally, Chairman Issa spoke to a Republican gathering in his district in North County, San Diego about the hearing:
Benghazi Rescue Bid Was Weakened, ‘Whistleblower’ to Testify, Issa Says
Congressman says hearing Wednesday will reveal that troops were ordered to stand down. Two ex-Navy SEALs died in the September 2012 siege.
A rescue mission to save the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans was gutted amid the Benghazi siege, a “whistleblower” will testify Wednesday, said the head of the House oversight panel.
Rep. Darrell Issa of North County told Republicans gathered at an awards dinner Friday that the former deputy chief of mission to Libya would be one of several to testify about the Benghazi attack of Sept. 11, 2012.
Media reports identify the diplomat as Gregory Hicks, who was in Tripoli at the time and reportedly took a call from Stevens during the attack. Issa didn’t use Hicks’ name, but did identify the other whistleblower as Mark Thompson, the State Department’s head of counterterrorism.
“He was there for every one of those phone calls—7½ hours in which they begged for help” during the deadly attack, Issa said of Hicks at the annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at the Rancho Bernardo Inn.
Issa said the whistleblower—who effectively became the acting ambassador when Chris Stevens was killed—“was there for the time in which they launched an internal rescue mission and military personnel were told to get off the plane.”
Issa said the whistleblower will testify that U.S. officials didn’t want troops on the plane because of the admonition “we do not want a military presence.”
“So less good people—less capable of fighting their way in—were on that plane,” Issa told an Aragon Ballroom audience of 640.
Although reports have circulated for days that “whistleblowers” would testify before Congress, none had been named. Nor what they would say.
Conservative media, including Fox News, reported in November that a CIA backup team was ordered to “stand down” and not come to the rescue of the Benghazi consulate, despite pleas for help.
In addition, Thompson will testify that “he never got a call” about the Benghazi attack, Issa said before introducing Luis Fortuño, the Republican governor of Puerto Rico, as featured speaker.
Thompson, the counterterrorism leader, heard of the attack “through friends of friends,” Issa said. “He knew it was terrorism—just as the charges de affaires will tesifty that … everyone in Libya knew it was terrorism in Moment 1.
With no doubt in their minds that the attackers were terrorists—instead of a mob enraged over an anti-Islamic video—“they clearly relayed that to the State Department,” Issa said.
But U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was deployed to the Sunday talk shows instead of Thompson, Issa said, “as part of the normalization that was going on” with Libya.
Issa said Wednesday will be a “very long day,” joking that he would forgo his coffee habit.
He said Friday night that he was flying back to Washington on Saturday to prepare for the hearing Wednesday.
The whistleblowers will say that Rice “clearly had better talking points,” but they were changed for “no security reason, no practical reason.”
Since the leader of Libya was calling the attack terrorism at the time of the Rice TV appearance, “we effectively called the president of the host nation a liar—but that’s what we did on those Sunday shows,” Issa said.
Issa speculated that Jay Carney, President Obama’s press secretary, will call the testimony old news. “Or perhaps former Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton [will say]: What difference does it make?”
But Issa told the Republican crowd: “We left our people and did not make a proper attempt to rescue them for those 7½ hours,” Issa said. “And as a result, every State Department individual, every person serving overseas, asks the question now: What happens if it’s me, and I’m on my own?”
“That’s what difference it makes,” Issa said.
The Benghazi issue was revived Tuesday when Obama was asked about allegations that his administration is preventing whistleblowers from testifying before Congress about the incident, The Associated Press reported.
Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters at the State Department:
“We have to demythologize this issue and certainly depoliticize it. The American people deserve answers. I’m determined that this will be an accountable and open State Department as it has been in the past, and we will continue to do that, and we will provide answers.”
On Tuesday, Issa “complained that he had not received responses to four letters he sent to the administration calling for whistleblowers’ lawyers to get the security clearances needed to represent their clients,” AP said.
State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell has denied that any employee had been threatened or told to remain silent.
“The State Department would never tolerate or sanction retaliation against whistleblowers on any issue, including this one,” Ventrell was quoted as saying. “That’s an obligation we take very seriously, full stop.”
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