Power Play 5/20/2013
White House tries to shift from scandal, is there an independent counsel coming, and reporters rankled over records grab
May 20, 2013
Bob Cusack, Ron Bonjean, Doug Thornell
White House tries to shift from scandal, is there an independent counsel coming, and reporters rankled over records grab
May 20, 2013
Bob Cusack, Ron Bonjean, Doug Thornell
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Yes series irrelevancy just came from one -- and fight for the director of communications.
For President Obama the White House and this is power play and I -- Chris Farrell and I am reminded of a guy who played -- I think it was for the cubs.
Whose job it was when the team needed to get somebody on base to go out and lead into the lead over the plate and take a pitch it -- But it got somebody on base so did Dan Pfeiffer take enough fastballs in his tour of five Sunday shows.
To advance the runners.
That's a good question we will seek to answer it.
We will also talk about the growing possibility probability summit -- Of an independent counsel at the very least to investigate what's going -- -- the IRS and we will talk about.
How to spin a reporter who's pretty sure that your snooping into his email.
And phone records how do you do that we'll have a couple.
PR pros who will be here to talk about.
The difficult job for the White House and Department of Justice amid the HP scandal.
But let's not wait.
Let's not wait to broaden our horizons and enhance our view and understanding.
But here is the Fox News senior political analyst.
He is followed by I would think that you should be followed by everyone on the Internet at Brit Hume.
But you are very welcome here as we need you today sir he.
Dan -- Q you expressed some sympathy for him yesterday on the twitters.
And and and you have to feel that you have to feel bad for anti for yesterday -- ago that's irrelevant the laws are relevant to where the president was rose all the relevant us and say well what is relevant mr.
Pfeiffer looks middle class jobs -- -- Has no -- yet here we go well.
And this is -- the administration has a way of doing this is sending people out to defend.
Without being prepared to answer a lot of questions that they must have known coming.
They didn't arm young Dan -- would much.
The result was that he had to resort obfuscation and declarations of the questions were relevant and so for us as a way of avoiding answering -- questions.
And ended up I'm -- -- say being -- rather bad -- it was kind of -- riveting television.
Well when he was that the Chris laws especially about the president's whereabouts and activities on the -- have been Ghazi.
And you know.
-- -- kept repeating it the president got briefed was kept up to date but within a weary we're in the way as he was or what he was doing on -- that.
Particularly terrible night so.
It was a it was a tough outing for him and -- -- the administration any good at all.
Now and you know.
What but I'm I'm failing to grasp so far is that especially as it relates to the iris.
Why isn't the administration acting with more urgency why aren't they acting in a broader way because if the president is involved.
With the targeting of his own political adversaries.
You would think that they would want to make quadruple sure that the public and the taxpaying public particularly.
Feels comfortable that the president is doing everything he came to root out wrongdoing.
Very striking piece of.
Disease treatment accorded so far that woman who knows him a lot of responsibility for this it this.
Operation in Cincinnati which is where such applications as it -- and other -- applications takes tax free status or.
-- -- -- -- -- She was there during the -- -- -- a lot of responsibility.
The guy who is the top of the IRS.
This in his a lot of responsibility to although there's not any evidence at all that he did this or -- to be done -- move out it or any of that.
He's quit he's quit because he said on Friday.
That he should be held accountable.
Well he should be held accountable certainly the person several layers below -- much closer the action.
Should be held accountable as well and she's now been put in charge of the Harris is piece of the obamacare enforcement.
And so you've got Stephen Miller who is still on the job who still look nobody is on his way -- -- on his way out on the 22.
And then you've got -- to other figures that have come to light on this.
And most intriguing is slowest learner.
Who is the woman who we now know planted the question.
That caused what at the time appeared to be the spontaneous disclosure.
Of the investigation she was a week ago Friday at a roundtable for tax attorneys.
And looking she was -- today.
This tax attorney says I wanted to ask you about the targeting of Tea -- well that's an interesting question that you raised -- and as a matter of fact there's a massive inspector general's report that finds.
Widespread wrongdoing inside of that office that it -- -- -- thanks for bringing it up and we're apologetic.
And we're very apologetic about it now it turns out that -- has come out with a statement said.
I was annoyed by her office approved of that put up to the question and answers -- question.
Slowest learner just want to point out Internet on the job today still working the IRS in the self -- at all.
Us and being described by Stephen and perhaps users of financial service.
I just I mean what I I.
-- -- my bottles because it seems like in the you've covered these scandals.
To a fare the well -- Republican and democratic administrations.
When you have something that is as far reaching you know there's a 150 million tax returns circulating either coming in the IRS returns going where are refunds going back people's.
Everybody's engaged with the IRS people want it to be fair.
Why is the president doing more why isn't he showing more urgency get these kids put these people on administrative leave.
Appoint somebody who is trusted by both parties to come in and -- an overseer want to.
He tends to be passive.
This president for one who would be designated I think by most people looking -- absolutely overall arc of his administration would -- this is activist and liberal activist president.
Wants to do a lot of things in the is kind of a hands on guy but he has a way.
At certain times of going into it might be called -- standard -- In which he seems not to know what happened he found out about it with the rest of us we're looking into this and things -- -- kind of a glacial pace to the extent they happen at all.
You know he said -- want -- first tried to detach himself and his wife as and his Treasury Department completely through this whole thing by declaring -- to be an independent agency is if -- -- one of these regulatory bodies -- operation as it was this kind of autonomy.
It's not just part of the Treasury Department -- who was in the line of authority that he in which he's a top guy and he proved that that's the case only days later by forcing this -- Stephen Miller -- -- to resign.
Because it into he's -- slow death but there is strategic question it at times like this has to do with.
What's the best waited to do -- -- appeared at -- house without causing all the people you're kicking out to lawyer up and tell all.
That's the thing that you've got to -- you -- he's so you handle with care right you know it's it's it's like firing somebody that may know too much.
You wanna fire element of human generous severance package anyone get anonymously you know I'm doing -- in -- on disparagement -- -- -- -- -- they don't go get outside.
Is Lyndon Johnson put it you want some people to be inside the tent peeing out rather -- champion.
That's I think that may be a factor in the administration decision to go to move against these people who were in the line of of authority and in the lot of responsibility for what happened here.
Betty Ford says he's -- I want to make power play shirts available with the slogan we traffic and cynical politics.
We'll think about it we don't have that kind of budget -- I would I would suggest -- -- what's the we traffic skeptical.
Skeptical look at it that depends on depends on my mood of the yeah.
-- we traffic skeptically in politics I.
I think I think I think that is right.
I think that's quite right.
And -- I.
Wonder if as we see the Department of Justice there -- program talk more about this later in the show that looking -- -- reporters.
This is something that doesn't seem to be going to -- in the press despite a war well -- -- today by what I think is a very major development.
In the case of our colleague and friend James -- It turns out that to Justice Department is investigating a leak that they suspected came from the State Department official.
Tracked his movements which they can do through the ID -- used to get -- the State Department to some extent.
And then they went to a judge to get a subpoena to get his private email which is something that is not easy to do.
In order to get to judge did -- -- they represented the court did what he was doing in the normal course of trying to get a government official telling things -- criminal.
That is treating ordinary reporting protected by the First Amendment as criminal activity.
I have been racking my brain and I cannot think of -- present this I don't use this ever happen.
And in terms of with the administration has been trying to say that they're trying to stop leaks not harass or intimidate reporters -- offer reporter's shield.
This go to this is Brazil's worst he'll look melodies that's like stopped -- before I kill again I mean that's.
That's please pass a shield law to protect journalists from us.
That's the kind of scary words -- put its limits but think about it.
I'm I'm I'm trying not to because otherwise -- get to jittery.
Hume thank you for writing that respect -- and thought about it that way and I'm sure that the Internet hadn't either.
So we thank you for being here and pleasure OK guys here's what we're gonna do we're gonna take a quick break but when we come back.
One of your favorites and mine Bob Cusack.
I don't know who's been going through his email.
-- watching his comings and goings but if they did they would know that Bob Cusack knows a lot you'll know that two and a second system.
Was Rob Portman he's a Republican senator from Ohio he was on this week.
With George Stephanopoulos.
And this is power play now Rob Portman is no bomb thrower he is and on bumper he is that -- puts the -- back in the grenades he's a fiscally conservative Republican but he's -- -- as we start recently.
He's in favor of same sex marriage and all kinds of things that he's I think we were described as fairly moderate kind of Republican.
And sort of the the soul of Washington -- temperance.
For him to call for an independent counsel to investigate the Internal Revenue Service.
Is not a small thing this is not.
Somebody on some Internet television shows and saying so this is Rob Portman is a pretty big deal -- was heavily -- even -- Mitt Romney's running.
So it seems like that's gonna happen.
Seems like that's bound to happen.
To some extent or another about that scandal or others.
You know who knows how it will work where it will go what the political penalties will be.
But is he is the managing editor of the bill.
Who has done.
You and your team have been doing very good stuff in keeping the trains.
Running on all the track.
-- it's hard to get it's hard to keep track of this.
And generally it's like.
There is just.
You know you -- -- and yes okay so big and Indian state waves coming off that they've answered yes I think America is just looking at Washington right now it's like the Big Ten with a little -- waves running -- and it's easily get confused about right and we get a little K okay -- -- -- -- -- -- intruder -- This gets very complicated but anyway.
Who -- The fact that.
The administration is taking and it goes -- right now we see the administration on the IRS particularly.
Its goes slow.
This guy's gonna phase out we're gonna bring in the new guy who had never heard of either and then this person that you don't know is going to be -- here.
And they're good they're trying to move the glacial pace yes Pfeiffer went out -- -- -- the -- -- we talked where his -- about it.
It about the irrelevancy.
Of all of this stuff and the president wants to get back and focus -- other things.
Republicans know that boost they need if if they're going to find out what went wrong and who -- what they have to have their own independent count.
So that's right that's right I mean and Republicans I think it's going to be tougher sell in the house because the house Republicans -- control lower chamber so they have subpoena power.
He had a special counsel look into it some of the -- goes away that -- -- mentioned one of the most bipartisan figures on capitol and he talked Democrats about Rob Portman.
They actually really really like apartments of the fact that he is gone -- and said.
Let's do this is get the special counsel.
Involved puts a lot of pressure on DOJ to name one mom.
And maybe the house Republicans.
-- their investigations.
Peter out and maybe that's when they ratcheted up whether it's on.
You know Ben Ghazi -- IRS saying no more Republicans being a little circumspect on -- -- they don't know the whole story about what just run plus plus all.
Politicians like the idea of being able to read our mail best looking face your I think your mail -- my that was particularly -- -- That when it.
The big conservative Republicans who are very eager to attack the president -- -- Ghazi.
When it comes to stopping leaks and wiretapping reporters some of those guys -- like well.
That's true and anything on.
It -- a -- -- a pass on the yesterday because.
The Department of Justice can't say.
Why they're -- Priority AK says they think they know why they're snooping which is about a leak about a terrorist attack that the back -- what we heard from that Bustamante a piece.
Basically they're saying.
The -- at the White House was in there -- -- the white -- because we put that head of their release timetable nobody was at risk -- -- an election year and stole their thunder and were and we were penalized for.
No that's right NA and I do think that that's where public -- a little they don't want to get out ahead of this story just because of well you never know what's gonna happen because -- department justice can make that case well this would save lives they did to get these records well.
Maybe that'll work but the IRS one now I I think this is going to be one -- it more revelations came out we saw senator Max Baucus over the weekend saying he has a hunch that -- is gonna come out of this season.
Leading an investigation is as Max Baucus is very eighties when he makes a statement it's very carefully crafted so I don't think Max Baucus has any kind of punch I think he knows something.
That's going to be coming out in the hearings investigation that he does and then look out for the testimony from Doug Schulman was IRS commissioner last year dude doing just fine this week.
Do it that's that's going to be everywhere -- those things slowest learner and -- -- yes.
Gore heads are gonna roll there's no doubt about it a while but a third -- Don't rule them faster this is I mean back to -- same question that I asked Brit before she got it.
Lot of heads off and you're gonna do this and -- -- as if you have a scandal going on.
Let's go on the way back machine and I can't remember his name of Vernon Jordan -- furniture yet.
Vernon Jordan was the president sticks -- this -- -- hey Monica now.
Aren't you tired of Washington how would you like go to high glamour -- fashion world of New York City and leave all this -- behind.
Win when the investigation storms when everybody sniffing around.
People who know stuff.
You do not want them to be sweating feeling the pressure you do not want some person who happens to know a lot of stuff.
That's sitting in a field office in Cincinnati.
They get told act put your product plan in your box yes and call your boyfriend because he's gonna come and pick you up and take you home -- fired.
That person then becomes motivated to be -- here.
That's right -- -- and that's that's a problem for this White House is that they have to be politically Smart about this is about.
Who they gonna -- you gonna call out because a lot of people Cincinnati office they know a lot of information and -- could be the limited cable news network saying well what this is what I know.
You're welcome here about the way -- -- do do and -- -- every all the jokes -- ever made about since tenacity and the angles and the University of Cincinnati I don't -- that's all that is back I just it's great whatever by the queen city.
I'm here for -- that the let's see we have some -- here.
Who is of course they wanna focus on other things as they've been caught with their candidate cookie jar actually there and it stuck in the cookie jar.
Well they wanna do is they want this to go way the law is not irrelevant breaking the laws not a rebel cover ups to maintain -- narrative that will this affect elections.
Is not irrelevant constitution is not relevant do I need you don't want.
I guess I know what you mean and do it again Dan Pfeiffer looked like he had walked out of the dugout.
To take fastballs in the bridge to try to get on base I don't know if he made it out of the batter's box though that was rough.
Yeah I was -- and the fact that he ending on -- kind of clarifying some of his remarks afterward the law is relevant I had.
Just one of the worst this is I think I higher estimate was -- -- question all they need.
So what's NIC does that mean with their email train you know chains on the stats.
It's gonna come out why not tell congress.
And the testimony Stephen Miller did not do IRS -- administration any favors it really.
But at least we don't really cool will be able to play him in the movie that -- -- about and that -- -- -- -- -- -- at least we've at least we've got this Ron cantor.
You know what he does he wisely follows me -- -- start on Twitter that's what he does.
And he enjoyed the line from my column today which was -- not even.
Robot killing machines in the sky will be able to distract us from these scandals.
And I didn't write that because I was being convinced him.
Today when I wrote my column that you can hand if you follow me.
Acts I mean haven't you -- but you can answer -- easily if you follow me at this cease fire -- on Twitter.
That and other radiation wag -- lines are available just for the cost but -- -- -- -- -- that so -- quickly your prediction.
Independent counsel soon never later.
I think later -- especially answers I was gonna be in the in the fall under I think there at the house Republicans need to.
Do their regular order of investigations.
And then later on potentially depending -- what comes out.
-- Is that they will they'll all be there we'll all have succumbed to delirium by that it would -- did just -- more than a bit more than they can handle.
You were very nearly more than we can handle your -- today but we weathered the storm.
Because we wanted to hear all your good so -- thank you Bob but we're gonna take a break but two of your very favorite analysts are going to be here to talk about this disgusted about this -- Winning reporters.
Are mad at you because of something that you -- administration did to them.
How do you sweet talk.
Those people out of the sweet nothings blow into their years.
When they're angry at you for looking at their phone records and -- I don't know seeking -- criminal subpoena against -- stuff like that but we'll talk.
-- two of the very best in the business about navigating -- situation we come back.
So stick around.
That was -- -- that he is the president of the Associated Press the most important.
Wire service the largest news agency full service news agency in the United States and he was on face the nation.
And what mr.
Pruitt and this power I should point man.
So that the if -- -- this that the DOJ I -- to make sure that you have the right segment down.
-- talking about there is the chilling effect.
That they say and over broad seizure of records from the news agency -- the Justice Department in pursuit of a -- her inside the government has had.
You heard from Brit -- earlier.
Some some pretty lousy stuff going on with our own colleague James -- -- today.
Criminal improvement stuff like that.
So the administration is in -- difficult interest in situations they need to talk to reporters.
But about reporters and news in their own business and -- -- kind of thanks yet -- -- how do you do -- People who did the administration if they if they have not hired -- should -- to help them figure this out.
-- -- by -- former -- that the senate Republican conference.
And former spokesperson for the speaker of the House of Representatives.
He -- Republicans strategist Doug Cornell he's former spokesman for the so what do you do.
It is very little he commuted to try to get the -- back in the initial.
Initial rounds here -- the damage has been done reporters are very angry with you.
The key is try to be as truthful as possible and -- gets through this is up front as possible with what's going on.
Other than that they're gonna have to take a lot of hits they're gonna take a lot of damage taken a lot of water I I I had my very hard for them -- -- this.
Select you have to call reporter the AP to talk about something transportation -- this we you like -- -- case rather listen stuff like your boss that I TV and accused us of being -- so well I mean here's the thing you would hope that the reporters are objective.
Reporters are supposed to be objective -- -- even though.
No but I mean this is an important point because it does hit home to reporters and I totally get that was certainly at AP but the reporters and they need to be able to.
Factor -- personal things.
And and I do their job.
Now I think that.
-- the administration tried to move you know tried that kind of mend fences a little bit with -- embracing the media shield.
Bill last week put that out there again.
I think -- right I mean this is kind of one of those things that's probably gonna take some time in the investigation that that the department of justice's.
Has right now you know we need to see where that goes because these were serious leaks and I think that it's important that we see you all the facts when -- out and who.
You see all the facts to see a lot of them.
Well -- he says that it wasn't -- that nobody's life was put into danger that's actually not entirely true because the CIA told the AP several days before.
Story was published that this would it jeopardize.
Its intelligent off if they did -- a week.
But it still but they still they still ended up our director -- the eagle was damaging.
The story by the time he came -- I think the administration was trying to just do triage damage control when it came out but it was a seriously we expect.
Also for an umpire in baseball game to be objective but if one of the players for the home team -- his car into the umpires car in the parking lot.
But there is not an expectation that the calls are going to go the same way can you appeal to the high mindedness of a journalist and says by god you've had better do your job and -- better be object.
Look for those of the for the objectivity calls when you know that when the player hits -- the hits home plate just barely knew you you can tell they feared Dina.
Patrick -- -- say he didn't.
Right you know and that's the thing I mean there's going to be a little bit of bias here yes reporters we'll speak active we all know that but reporters can be biased.
-- To varying degrees -- I think that there be a little bit of a little bit hesitant seats for those reporters.
Who really deep down inside the love the amount registration to say where now.
They America's here's the thing.
Bias is most significant in this way class is significant in story selection.
It's not necessarily what those in the story it's what story do you want to do.
And there are ten stories that -- reporter could write about today in Washington DC there.
What if you could write about the president's upcoming speech on counterterrorism policy you could talk about what's going on with immigration you do whatever you want to but.
If you are feeling deceived and you are feeling -- treated.
You may Asian makers were -- still write their story right reportedly still Wright affair story but may choose one that is less.
Right you know I mean I think that look the Bush Administration had to deal with this in 2005 when it was revealed that they had a program to eavesdrop on Americans without.
Without a -- is right and that was written it was a big New York Times piece and the response.
To that piece by the White House and by many Republicans was to go after the reporter.
And so you know it in so you know I think we've seen this in the past now it's it's a little bit different but my point is is that.
You know after that story I think reporters were probably feeling a little bit of you know some and you know some some.
Some anger a bit towards that White House because of the way that that reporter was treated when he reported on some intelligence leaks themselves up.
Not not that they needed much encouragement to get after the behind of the Bush Administration right.
Well let's do that that's true I mean I think stereo all over the Bush Administration are ready and and -- -- for a variety of other things.
But but yes I do I do think the reporters that the story selection is extremely significant.
And one it will probably see in the days account you know I get sick and I'll tell you this I think of the the the first thing that the White House could do is make and I don't know if this -- happen but you know I would try to get Eric -- Away from the -- try to have.
She you don't have it because she's not look he's he's repeat myself in this have Jim Cole who's the acting was that he knows stuff while but he can at least go out there as a person who's in charge of the investigation to say look we can't comment -- wanted to get to do our -- needless litigation conferences -- need to fly the and the problem we'll just take and take all your questions and it doesn't like what you feel a laser like -- feel a little target on your 40 yeah.
I just think -- do the holder is not I just think the fact that he doesn't can't answer questions put the guy who -- these are definitely out there and -- he can now know can actually that the manic bullying reporters that matter of bullying in general comes across here in and at a reporters feel vulnerable that keeps recycling over and over again for the next couple -- months I think it's just very bad.
No -- and -- aircraft could ever replace these two people and I recommend if you if you really did you have -- them.
Maybe they'll work together.
It'll -- just charge it twice as much.
All right Internet we have to go we didn't have any time for -- points there was no -- Sad but glad I'm on the Jonathan Hunt is up next take through the -- -- on the East Coast so enjoy that we'll see you back here tomorrow.
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