Texas Republican Rep. Ted Poe told The Daily Caller he fears the American people and Congress cannot trust at face value anything President Barack Obama’s administration says.
“The result of all this is we’re getting to the point where the credibility of the administration on what it says about anything is not credible,” Poe said in a phone interview about “Operation: Fast and Furious” and the newly surfacing scandal surrounding the terrorist attacks in Libya. “As we get into what they say, we often find that they are wrong and have misled the American people.”
Like Fast and Furious, Poe said “Libya is yet another example where we can’t trust the information from the administration and that’s unfortunate. Any administration should have credibility with the American public. When it says something, it should actually be accurate information instead of backtracking weeks later after they get caught in their misstatements.”
Poe, a former Texas judge in the Houston area before getting elected to Congress in November 2004, told TheDC that he disagrees with the Obama administration and thinks the courts do have a role in determining whether the president and Attorney General Eric Holder should release Fast and Furious documents. Last Monday, the Department of Justice filed a brief asking the judge to dismiss the lawsuit the House brought against the DOJ via the bipartisan vote to hold Holder in civil contempt of Congress.
If the judge sides with Congress, it will force Holder and Obama to release the Fast and Furious documents they are still hiding from the American people under the president’s assertion of executive privilege. If the judge sides with the administration, Holder and Obama will be allowed to keep hiding the documents.
But the Justice Department does not even want to let the arguments play out in court – the administration is arguing the courts have no place in reviewing this case.
“They do not want this resolved in a court of law,” Poe said. “I don’t think they want the issue resolved at all. The law allows for exactly what has taken place – Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress because he refused to give Congress documents we are entitled to see. The procedure is now that we go to a court of law and the court of law decides whether we prosecute Eric Holder and actually punish him – the required punishment being that he give us the documents, because the administration doesn’t want those documents turned over and they’ll do anything to keep from having to do that. That’s why they moved for the dismissal.”
“They ought to just argue their case before a court of law, which is supposed to resolve this issue, and see what happens,” Poe added, with a promise to the American people: “We’ll get those documents.”
In its request for the court to dismiss the case, the DOJ argued that if this lawsuit is allowed to move forward, then “countless other suits by Congress are sure to follow, given the volume of document requests issued by the dozens of congressional committees that perform oversight functions.”
The administration went on to suggest that America’s Founding Fathers never would have wanted this to happen.
“The Founders intended Congress to use the tools provided in the Constitution — rather than the federal courts — to obtain documents that Congress believes necessary to engage in oversight of the Executive Branch,” the DOJ argued. “The Branches’ respective political tools, rather than litigation, provide the means for the two Branches to resolve their oversight differences.”
On Holder arguing that the Founding Fathers would not have wanted this fight, Poe said he agrees – but for a different reason. “The claim that the Founding Fathers never wanted this to happen? I think Eric Holder’s correct,” Poe said. “But the Founding Fathers would have expected that Eric Holder would turn over the documents. They wouldn’t have wanted him to stonewall the law, and refuse to turn over documents to the legislative branch like they’re required to do. But, they would also have said there has to be a way to resolve it and they said the courts – the Supreme Court, the lower district courts too – will be the place to resolve it. I disagree that this is not what the Founding Fathers intended.”
The DOJ’s Inspector General recently published his report that furthered the investigation into Fast and Furious, but Poe said the report is hardly the final say in the matter. Congress will continue investigating, he said, because “we want all of the information.”
“We want the Justice Department to give Congress all of the information it has – as part of our oversight responsibilities, we are entitled to have that information,” Poe said, adding that he thinks the IG report is a “step in the right direction, but let’s see all of the information and let the American public see it.”
Poe was also “glad” Fast and Furious came up in the second presidential debate – and he’s not surprised President Obama promptly tried to change the subject away from the scandal the minute Mitt Romney brought it up. Poe said Fast and Furious “needs to be brought forward to the attention of the American public and we need to find out exactly why our government facilitated sending automatic weapons to the enemy of Mexico – the drug cartels – guns that were not only used in killing Americans, but Mexican nationals. We need to find the answers to why our government did that and so we need to keep Fast and Furious on the front burner.”
“Of course the president doesn’t want to talk Fast and Furious,” Poe added. “He will change the subject if he can when it does come up. That’s because, someone in the administration – maybe several people – were involved not only in the facilitation of helping get guns to Mexico but keeping information from the American public. He doesn’t want the American public to know all the facts about Fast and Furious. There’s something to hide there between the president and Eric Holder, it seems, and of course the president would change the subject.”