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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Issa Demands Assistant U.S. Attorney General Michael Morrissey’s Testimony On Fast & Furious Investigation

Issa Demands Assistant U.S. Attorney General Michael Morrissey’s Testimony On Fast & Furious Investigation

J. Patrick Cunningham Lawyered Up - Pled 5th Amendment Right Against Self Incrimination - And Then Quits The DOJ.

By Dell Hill via Hot Air

J. Patrick Cunningham Refused To Testify & Then Quit The DOJ.

Darrell Issa - Picking Them Off One At A Time.

Like the Energizer Bunny, Darrell Issa just keeps going and going and going.  Tina Korbe brings us up to date on Fast & Furious.
“Undaunted — and perhaps even spurred on — by recent charged developments, Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, today demanded that the Department of Justice make a key federal prosecutor available to testify before his Committee as a part of its investigation into the lethal gun-running program Operation Fast and Furious.

Last week, the chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona, J. Patrick Cunningham, pled his fifth amendment right to not testify against himself and refused to offer any information other than his name and title to Issa’s Committee.

Cunningham’s decision to cast himself on the Constitution for help stunned congressional investigators and was itself an indictment on the integrity of the Department of Justice.  As Ed (Morrissey) wrote at the time, “One point is pretty clear, though.  Officials at the DoJ involved in this operation are fearing criminal prosecution, which means that this scandal just went prime time.”

Since then, we’ve learned that Cunningham will leave his post at the Department of Justice this Friday for a private-sector job.  That’s as it should be.  Cunningham’s decision — while perfectly “correct” in a constitutional sense — nevertheless limited Congress’ ability to arrive at answers to questions about Fast and Furious.  Given Congress’ responsibility to oversee DOJ operations and the DOJ’s responsibility to cooperate with Congress, a DOJ official who cannot cooperate for fear of self-incrimination should no longer be a part of the DOJ.

Meantime, Issa and his investigators apparently think they can acquire at least some of the information Cunningham could have provided from one of the U.S. attorneys under his supervision.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Michael Morrissey played an “integral part” in Fast and Furious and has information not available from other sources, Issa says.  In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Chairman Issa demanded the DOJ release Morrissey to testify. The Washington Times reports:

“Since August, the department has identified Patrick Cunningham as the best person in the U.S. Attorney’s Office to provide information about Fast and Furious to the committee,” Mr. Issa wrote.  “The department has refused to make Michael Morrissey and Emory Hurley, both Assistant United States Attorneys supervised by Mr. Cunningham, available to speak with the committee, citing a policy of not making ‘line attorneys’ available for congressional scrutiny.
Mr. Morrissey, however, was Mr. Hurley’s direct supervisor, and an integral part of Fast and Furious,” Mr. Issa wrote.  “Importantly, both Morrissey and Hurley are unique in their possession of key factual knowledge about Fast and Furious not readily available from any other source.”
Mr. Hurley was the lead prosecutor in the Fast and Furious operation.  In August, he was reassigned from the criminal division to a civil division post.

Whether Morrissey will, in fact, testify — and whether he can fill the gaps left by Cunningham’s decision to plead the Fifth — remains to be seen.  Next Tuesday, though, Holder himself will again testify before the House Committee.  He hasn’t taken responsibility for the scandal up to this point — and there’s no reason to think he’ll do so now, but the House Committee can at least again seek answers from the clearly either corrupt or incompetent head of the DOJ.”

Dell’s Bottom Line:

Fearing criminal prosecution, the first DOJ lawyer involved in the fast and furious scandal lawyered up, stood on his 5th Amendment Right against self-incrimination and then waltzed out the door.

It will be interesting to see 1) if Attorney General Eric Holder will even allow Michael Morrissey to testify, and - if he does - 2) will Michael Morrissey go the 5th Amendment route as well?  The guess here is that he will.

Issa, meanwhile, seems unfazed as he picks off these big shot attorneys one at a time.  He knows that at some point, one of them will open up and testify.  When that happens, the fur will really fly.

1 comment:

  1. They can run (resign!) but they CAN'T hide from the LONG arm of the Law! And the Constitution! The Trail will end at the top of the CHAIN!