It appears as though Thomas Roberts has joined chorus of MSNBC hosts jumping to the defense of embattled Attorney General Eric Holder over the Fast and Furious scandal. In an interview with Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), Roberts suggested that Rep. Darryl Issa’s (R-Calif.) investigation into Fast and Furious was simply an example of the GOP having ‘sour grapes’ and looking for an ‘ax to grind.’
Rep. Mica countered the liberal Roberts by noting that MSNBC reporters are acting as apologists for the White House and Holder. Mica’s comments came following President Obama’s claim of executive privilege to shield Holder from turning over all the documents requested by Issa and the House oversight committee. [Video follows page break; MP3 audio here.]
Roberts jumped to the White House’s defense arguing that the Obama/Holder Department of Justice had turned over plenty of documents already, so in light of that, "is it just sour grapes on your part pushing forward?”
You do have to give this to Roberts, though, his staunch defense of the Obama administration justifies Rep. Mica's observation that MSNBC has indeed become "apologists" for the Obama White House, a Democratic message machine rather than a news organization.
Below is the relevant transcript.
11:40 a.m. EDT
THOMAS ROBERTS: So we continue to follow that breaking news unfolding on Capitol Hill. The House Oversight Committee expected to vote anytime now on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress then that would move on to a full vote on the House floor coming up in a week or so. Now the committee convened in this hearing after 10:00 a.m. this morning. Florida Congressman John Mica is a member of the Oversight Committee and has been inside that meeting today. He is also serves as the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and we’re lucky that he stepped out to join us. Sir it’s great to have you. And I just want to ask you, your reaction to the president’s issue of executive privilege this morning on the documents after February 4, 2011 that you would like to see submitted.
CONGRESSMAN JOHN MICA: Well, unfortunately it’s one more stalling tactic. Last night we had a stalling tactic by Eric Holder. Offered to provide a few more, a little dribble of documents. And if we would close down the investigation. Today the president's proclaiming executive privilege is an outrage, again, there's no basis for executive privilege. We had an agent of the United States killed with drugs that were supplied by a plan that went sour devised by the Department of Justice. This is a serious matter and our committee has the jurisdiction, should investigate this and get all the information and documents relating to this major disaster in the history of the Department of Justice.
ROBERTS: Sir, when you talk about the documents and the dribble that you refer to that have been released to you and this committee, it’s over 7,600 pages of documents.
MICA: Yeah. I heard your apologist, one of your announcers talking about that from the White House. There are close to 100,000 documents and communications we have identified. Now I'm even more concerned that they set the February 4th deadline because February 4th, 2011, Until 11 months forward, they denied that there was even anything going on here.
ROBERTS: But sir --
MICA: Again --
ROBERTS: I think you're referring to our White House reporter Kristen Welker talking who was talking about the release, not an apologist but our White House reporter, NBC News’ Kristen Welker reporting about the 7,600 pages of documents.
MICA: Okay. Well then, the White House reporter who's being an apologist for the White House. Let me clarify that. And the 7,600 documents. That's a selective distribution. Selective information to the committee. This is a committee with investigative jurisdiction. Again, over the Department of Justice which has been involved in an incident in which a federal agent was murdered with weapons supplied by the Department of Justice. This isn't a game. And again, we should get each and every document relating to this incident. Not some game played last night or some injection by the White House today. And if the White House knew any time from February 4th, 2011, to current of what was going on, then there's really big trouble.
ROBERTS: Sir, when we talk about the fact that the investigation by the Department of Justice goes up until that date of February the 4th, you are not entitled to the documents that are after that date so is it just sour grapes and looking like some type of ax to grind --
MICA: We're entitled to any and all documents relating to this case. Period.
ROBERTS: But not if the president issues an executive privilege so is it just sour grapes on your part pushing forward.
MICA: That's absolutely not the case. That's not the case. President’s have exerted that before and, again, that can be contested. Executive privilege is when there are issues of national security, appointments, international situations. This is a possible criminal act, and actions by the Department of Justice in which an agent of the United States government was killed by weapons supplied by the Department of Justice. So, executive privilege, we'll contest that every hour of the day.
ROBERTS: Representative Mica, we’re going to let you go and get back to work. Sir, thanks for your time.
MICA: Thank you.