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Let's return now to Washington and there's been a Paul -- why at least one member of congress.
That a special.
Prosecutor be appointed to look into the fast and furious program and in particular statements made by the attorney general under oath.
Before a House Judiciary Committee.
On May third -- per -- is our senior producer on the hill he's been following this story -- Genital response obviously -- you are such a wealth of knowledge on the subject matter.
Talk to us about the calls for this prosecutor special counsel.
It is specific.
-- a special counsel of the -- a little bit different than it was in the 1970s.
And also in the 1990s and we dealt with.
-- Monica Lewinsky in the Whitewater investigation with President Clinton Lamar Smith who is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
I wrote a letter to pres Obama asking for a special counsel to investigate Eric Holder.
On early may holder appeared before the house oversight committee.
And that's -- in the House Judiciary Committee and said that He was only familiar.
-- fast and furious program within the past couple of weeks meantime they've been able to produce some documents.
Which said that He knew about this as far back as July of 2010 that He was being briefed about the program.
Now the Justice Department says in his defense look you know there's a lot of the documents to come across his desk.
He was you know familiar with this to a certain degree but did this -- just risen to the fourth at that point.
But what has happened here is Lamar Smith says.
That the attorney general cannot investigate himself so you have to have somebody else an independent person in this case a special counsel investigate.
A special counsel is a independent office at the Justice Department.
That functions kind of like the US attorney.
They don't report to anybody I usually the attorney general would be the person who -- -- hire this person -- dispatch this person.
But this since this involves Eric Holder directly they're asking for -- Obama two I had to tap the special counsel.
-- -- But that's the president appointing a special counsel to investigate arguably.
That guy that the president.
88 is the attorney general of the United States.
Right and therein lies the rub.
This was one of the reasons why they changed the law starting in 1970s.
Everybody talks about the Saturday night massacre in 1973 this was when.
Richard Nixon was trying to fire.
Archibald Cox who was the independent counsel investigating Watergate.
And the then attorney general Eliot Richardson wouldn't do it.
The deputy attorney general -- -- house wouldn't do it.
And then in the solicitor general -- the number three incidentally Bob Bork who happen to be the failed us Supreme Court nominee in 1987 He fired.
The special counsel in that case.
So what they did over a period of time was they added in some -- here you might remember when they started.
The a Whitewater investigation involving President Clinton in early 1994.
It was ultimately Janet Reno the attorney general then who appointed the special counsel.
But there was a big press conference that President Clinton said look I think that we should get to the bottom of this I want to clear my name and He cleared his name on Whitewater to some degree but eventually this rolled into the -- Monica Lewinsky.
Affair when Ken Starr was the prosecutor us some years later I mean and that's what that's one of the reasons they allow that.
Law to expire in 1999.
Eventual impeachment light ticket there's been no word from the president of the White House's reaction to this last.
If anybody handicapping how the president may respond.
You know we're not hearing a whole lot about that from downtown it was interesting that.
You know a couple of people pointed out that this is the third time.
In two years that Lamar Smith has asked for a special counsel.
To investigate something no one was in clueless via acorn -- situation.
Another one involved possible voter intimidation by the Black Panther Party the White House is said virtually nothing about this.
I talk to John Conyers yesterday who -- the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
I just as this is breaking He had not seen the letter He had not been appointed by this by his opposite number their Lamar Smith.
I also talked to Elijah Cummings who's the top Democrat.
On the house oversight committee and He wasn't familiar with this either so sort of the reaction here has been very slow at best.
-- her room -- thank you very much -- senior producer of on the hill.
Thank you so much for explaining this to us -- time real quickly.
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