Lerner takes the 5th…and the Conversation

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Lerner takes the 5th...and the Conversation

Yes­ter­day while I was giv­ing my wife her belated moth­ers day gift of a Drive to Maine to visit fab­ric stores Lois Lerner went before the House com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the IRS scandal.

The Video is not a good image for the White House and will surely be part of many a GOP ad as 2014 closes. Even worse the topic is one almost impos­si­ble to defend with­out look­ing the fool and too many on the left are not will­ing to be that fool­ish in public.

If the Goal is to defend the admin­is­tra­tion and to rally their sup­port­ers the sub­ject HAS to be changed, but how?

Lois Lerner pro­vided the solu­tion by mak­ing a speech rather than just sim­ply invok­ing her Fifth Amend­ment rights prompt­ing this from Rep Trey Gowdy:

Mr. Issa, Mr. Cum­mings just said we should run this like a court­room, and I agree with him. She just tes­ti­fied. She just waived her Fifth Amend­ment right to priv­i­lege. You don’t get to tell your side of the story and then not be sub­jected to cross exam­i­na­tion. That’s not the way it works. She waived her Fifth Amend­ment priv­i­lege by issu­ing an open state­ment. She ought to stand here and answer our questions.

And Rep Issa seems to agree:

House Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Reform Com­mit­tee Chair­man Dar­rell Issa said embat­tled IRS offi­cial Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amend­ment rights and will be hauled back to appear before his panel again. The Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can said Lerner’s Fifth Amend­ment right to avoid self-​incrimination was voided when she gave an open­ing state­ment this morn­ing deny­ing any wrong­do­ing and pro­fess­ing pride in her gov­ern­ment service.”

and that has started a whole new debate:

Mary­land Rep. Eli­jah Cum­mings, the top Demo­c­rat on the Over­sight com­mit­tee, also said he didn’t think Lerner waived her Fifth Amend­ment protections.

I don’t think her coun­sel would have allowed her to give a state­ment know­ing that the very pur­pose of him being here — for her to assert her fifth amend­ment rights — would be dam­aged if she made a state­ment,” he told reporters.

But Paul Roth­stein, a law pro­fes­sor at George­town Uni­ver­sity, dis­agreed say­ing she “has run a very grave risk of hav­ing waived her right to refuse to tes­tify on the details of things she has already gen­er­ally talked about.”

I drove back from Maine Wednes­day I heard lawyer after lawyer today mar­vel at the sup­posed legal mis­take of Lerner’s team, sug­gest­ing this was first year law school stuff. If this was sim­ply about a crim­i­nal case they would have a point, but they’re mis­read­ing the sit­u­a­tion. They assume this was a mistake.

I don’t

Mrs. Lerner is not a fool, nor is her legal team, it is incon­ceiv­able they would allow her to put her­self in legal jeop­ardy with­out fore­knowl­edge, unless they had some­thing else in mind like per­haps chang­ing the sub­ject

What hap­pens when Issa brings her back and the ques­tions begin? Could be that she’ll cave and start answer­ing, but I assume her lawyer will tell her to take the Fifth again, in which case it’s Issa’s move. He could try to hold her in con­tempt, which would prob­a­bly ignite a court bat­tle and would cer­tainly ignite lots of media concern-​trolling about the GOP crush­ing Lerner’s rights as a way to change the sub­ject from the under­ly­ing scan­dal. The court bat­tle would slow down the inves­ti­ga­tion and might spark a bit of pub­lic sym­pa­thy for Lerner and the IRS

Sud­denly the the video that the MSM had lit­tle time for above will be replaced. Instead of a Lois Lerner the woman who helped Tar­get the Tea Party with the IRS to rob them of their Con­sti­tu­tional rights, we will have the image of woman defend­ing hers in front of con­gress. Instead of both par­ties talk­ing about the IRS dis­grace the vote on com­pelling tes­ti­mony will be along party lines.

The left will have a whole new nar­ra­tive that they can dis­cuss for months. Mil­lions of pix­els and bar­rels of ink will be devoted to the court case and on MSNBC, CNN and and the Sun­day Shows on all the net­works will have per­son after per­son say­ing “of course what the IRS did was wrong but there is no more sacred right than the 5th Amend­ment and no mat­ter what Ms. Lerner might have done the GOP has no busi­ness try­ing to deprive her of her rights”. In fact the Obama Admin­is­tra­tion need never be mentioned.

Which is, in my opin­ion, exactly what was intended when she took the stand Wednes­day morning.

The con­gress how­ever doesn’t have to fall for the trap. If Issa is smart, he will delay re-​calling Lerner. He will instead con­tinue the inves­ti­ga­tion begin­ning with the low­est level per­son in Cincin­nati and build­ing the case from the bot­tom up, then, and only then, when the case has been made before both the con­gress, the courts and the pub­lic and then, and only then, should she be called back to play legal games and main­tain her silence of facts already in evidence.

Update: Hogewash notes the actual words of Miranda:

If You Give Up Your Right to Remain Silent any­thing you say may be used in court against you.

and says

That’s the way a Miranda warn­ing goes. Didn’t Lois Lerner’s lawyer tell her?

That’s exactly why I think it’s a setup

******************************************

[olimome­ter id=3]

Lerner might have suc­ceeded in slow­ing down the process in con­gress, but she isn’t respon­si­ble for the slow week that DaTip­Jar has suf­fered thus far.

You can solve that prob­lem, if 14 of you can find $20 to spare before Sat­ur­day this week’s $300 pay­check can be achieved and this month’s mort­gage will be paid.

As always it’s up to you.

Yesterday while I was giving my wife her belated mothers day gift of a Drive to Maine to visit fabric stores Lois Lerner went before the House committee investigating the IRS scandal.

The Video is not a good image for the White House and will surely be part of many a GOP ad as 2014 closes. Even worse the topic is one almost impossible to defend without looking the fool and too many on the left are not willing to be that foolish in public.

If the Goal is to defend the administration and to rally their supporters the subject HAS to be changed, but how?

Lois Lerner provided the solution by making a speech rather than just simply invoking her Fifth Amendment rights prompting this from Rep Trey Gowdy:

Mr. Issa, Mr. Cummings just said we should run this like a courtroom, and I agree with him. She just testified. She just waived her Fifth Amendment right to privilege. You don’t get to tell your side of the story and then not be subjected to cross examination. That’s not the way it works. She waived her Fifth Amendment privilege by issuing an open statement. She ought to stand here and answer our questions.

And Rep Issa seems to agree:

“House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said embattled IRS official Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights and will be hauled back to appear before his panel again. The California Republican said Lerner’s Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination was voided when she gave an opening statement this morning denying any wrongdoing and professing pride in her government service.”

and that has started a whole new debate:

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the Oversight committee, also said he didn’t think Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment protections.

“I don’t think her counsel would have allowed her to give a statement knowing that the very purpose of him being here — for her to assert her fifth amendment rights — would be damaged if she made a statement,” he told reporters.

But Paul Rothstein, a law professor at Georgetown University, disagreed saying she “has run a very grave risk of having waived her right to refuse to testify on the details of things she has already generally talked about.”

I drove back from Maine Wednesday I heard lawyer after lawyer today marvel at the supposed legal mistake of Lerner’s team, suggesting this was first year law school stuff. If this was simply about a criminal case they would have a point, but they’re misreading the situation. They assume this was a mistake.

I don’t

Mrs. Lerner is not a fool, nor is her legal team, it is inconceivable they would allow her to put herself in legal jeopardy without foreknowledge, unless they had something else in mind like perhaps changing the subject

What happens when Issa brings her back and the questions begin? Could be that she’ll cave and start answering, but I assume her lawyer will tell her to take the Fifth again, in which case it’s Issa’s move. He could try to hold her in contempt, which would probably ignite a court battle and would certainly ignite lots of media concern-trolling about the GOP crushing Lerner’s rights as a way to change the subject from the underlying scandal. The court battle would slow down the investigation and might spark a bit of public sympathy for Lerner and the IRS

Suddenly the the video that the MSM had little time for above will be replaced. Instead of a Lois Lerner the woman who helped Target the Tea Party with the IRS to rob them of their Constitutional rights, we will have the image of woman defending hers in front of congress. Instead of both parties talking about the IRS disgrace the vote on compelling testimony will be along party lines.

The left will have a whole new narrative that they can discuss for months. Millions of pixels and barrels of ink will be devoted to the court case and on MSNBC, CNN and and the Sunday Shows on all the networks will have person after person saying “of course what the IRS did was wrong but there is no more sacred right than the 5th Amendment and no matter what Ms. Lerner might have done the GOP has no business trying to deprive her of her rights”. In fact the Obama Administration need never be mentioned.

Which is, in my opinion, exactly what was intended when she took the stand Wednesday morning.

The congress however doesn’t have to fall for the trap. If Issa is smart, he will delay re-calling Lerner. He will instead continue the investigation beginning with the lowest level person in Cincinnati and building the case from the bottom up, then, and only then, when the case has been made before both the congress, the courts and the public and then, and only then, should she be called back to play legal games and maintain her silence of facts already in evidence.

Update: Hogewash notes the actual words of Miranda:

If You Give Up Your Right to Remain Silent anything you say may be used in court against you.

and says

That’s the way a Miranda warning goes. Didn’t Lois Lerner’s lawyer tell her?

That’s exactly why I think it’s a setup

******************************************

Olimometer 2.52

Lerner might have succeeded in slowing down the process in congress, but she isn’t responsible for the slow week that DaTipJar has suffered thus far.

You can solve that problem, if 14 of you can find $20 to spare before Saturday this week’s $300 paycheck can be achieved and this month’s mortgage will be paid.

As always it’s up to you.