From the ongoing investigation into a purported Benghazi cover-up, to the IRS targeting right-wing groups, to the Justice Department secretly collecting journalists’ phone records, it has been a tough week for the White House. We review the week’s news and assess the potential political fallout from the scandals.

Byron York, chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner and author of "The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy"
David Mark, editor-in-chief of Politix
Joan Walsh, editor-at-large for Salon.com and author of "What's the Matter with White People?: Finding our way in the Next America"

  • thucy

    from Glenn Greenwald in London’s Guardian:
    “This morning, the New York Times’ public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote about the AP story and the broader War on Whistleblowers, and said that Obama’s presidency is “turning out to be the administration of unprecedented secrecy and of unprecedented attacks on a free press.” She added: “This isn’t just about press rights. It’s about the right of citizens to know what their government is doing. In an atmosphere of secrecy and punishment – despite the hollow promises of transparency – that’s getting harder every day.”
    The New York Times itself editorialized today that “the Obama administration, which has a chilling zeal for investigating leaks and prosecuting leakers, has failed to offer a credible justification” for its “spying on the AP”; the NYT editors also quoted a letter from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to Attorney General Holder stating that the AP spying “calls into question the very integrity” of the administration’s policy toward the press. The New Yorker this morning published an article by its general counsel, Lynn Oberlander, denouncing the DOJ’s conduct as “cowardly”; she wrote: “Even beyond the outrageous and overreaching action against the journalists, this is a blatant attempt to avoid the oversight function of the courts.”

  • thucy

    Greenwald: “Former New York Times general counsel James Goodale, who represented the paper during its Pentagon Papers fight with the Nixon administration, said in an interview yesterday that Obama is worse than Nixon when it comes to press freedoms.”

  • Chris OConnell

    In my opinion, the only scandal here, which the Republicans truly do not care about and must actually approve of and support, is the subpoena of AP phone records.

    The IRS thing is really a non-scandal. Right-wing POLITICAL groups like the Tea Party and the Patriot groups most likely DO NOT DESERVE 501(c)(4) status and should be scrutinized. Yes, they should look at liberal groups, so that is not right if they did not do it. But it was obviously a rational shortcut in the wake of dozens or hundreds of these EXPLICITLY POLITICAL (anti-Obama) sprouting up. These are NOT social charity groups, quite the opposite. Moreover, NONE of them were denied said status. So the crybaby martyr Republicans should just grow up, already.

    And Bengazi. 9 months of nothing there and no sign of it ending. It seemed from the start that this was just a club and a desperate approach for Republicans for the November 2012 election. I was shocked they did not drop it after the election.

    • thucy

      I agree that the AP is the only scandal here, but by calling it a scandal, you’re seriously minimizing the criminal behavior of the DoJ in seizing the phone records. This is well beyond Nixon, as even the NYTimes editor who worked on the Pentagon papers has pointed out.

      • Chris OConnell

        Unfortunately, it is not criminal behavior. In fact, it appears they only violated their own voluntary restrictions for obtaining phone records from the press, and of course they are denying they violated said restrictions.

        Unfortunately, the government has access to everyone’s phone calls and they don’t need a warrant to get them. Welcome to the post-9/11 world where the 4th Amendment has effectively been rescinded.

  • thucy

    that woman caller who needs to worry about harrassment for her political activity? That just broke my heart. That’s why the DoJ surveillance AP story is so troubling.

  • thucy

    Correction to host: Obama is now supporting shield laws post-AP story, but he helped defeat earlier shield laws!!

  • Peter Sorensen

    Is it really clear that 72 out of 298 cases counts as a targeting? What about the other 226 presumably non-conservative group cases? Were they not also targeted? Why is that not news too?

    News flash! conservative groups targeted 1/3 of the time! Non-conservative groups targeted 2/3 of the time! Republicans up in arms! Democrats focusing on more important national issues.

    I must be missing something here. ps I am a (disappointed) Republican

    • thucy

      “Democrats focusing on more important national issues.”

      Yes, like siccing the DoJ on whistleblowers, journalists, sources, et cetera.

  • left EC

    It makes perfect sense that following Sarbanes (D-MD)-Oxley (R-OH), enacted in 2002 (pre-Obama), the IRS would see a mandate to police non-profits more carefully, which in fact they have. See an ABA article for background http://apps.americanbar.org/buslaw/blt/2009-07-08/runquist.shtml

    The focus on Tea Party et al. groups? Low hanging fruit.

    • thucy

      I’d feel better if I knew the ABA was as concerned about the DoJ’s criminal pursuit of the AP’s phone records as they were in defending the IRS.
      The scandal is not the actions of the IRS. The scandal is good Democrats not insisting on Holder’s resignation for the AP spying and for his prosecution of whistleblowers and, unfortunately, a long list of other items.

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Could care less about who was trageted but concerned ANY one is a target. This should be a concern for left, right, middle leaning views!

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