WH Cover-Up? Judge Nap, Chaffetz on the New Prostitution Bombshell
A stunner of a report coming out from the Washington Post this morning, claiming the White House concealed the fact that an aide was also involved in the 2012 Colombia prostitution scandal.
The scandal led to the firings or punishment of nearly two dozen Secret Service agents and military service members.
The report says senior White House officials were informed at the time that a member of the president's advance team also had a prostitute in his hotel room.
From the Washington Post:
The information that the Secret Service shared with the White House included hotel records and firsthand accounts — the same types of evidence the agency and military relied on to determine who in their ranks was involved.
The lead investigator later told Senate staffers that he felt pressure from his superiors in the office of Charles K. Edwards, who was then the acting inspector general, to withhold evidence — and that, in the heat of an election year, decisions were being made with political considerations in mind.
The Secret Service shared its findings twice in the weeks after the scandal with top White House officials, including then-White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. Each time, she and other presidential aides conducted an interview with the advance-team member and concluded that he had done nothing wrong.
Meanwhile, the new details also show that a separate set of investigators in the inspector general’s office of the Department of Homeland Security — tasked by a Senate committee with digging more deeply into misconduct on the trip — found additional evidence from records and eyewitnesses who had accompanied the team member in Colombia.
“We were directed at the time . . . to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election,” David Nieland, the lead investigator on the Colombia case for the DHS inspector general’s office, told Senate staffers, according to three people with knowledge of his statement.
Nieland added that his superiors told him “to withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration.”
Edwards told Senate staffers that any changes to the report were part of the normal editing process and that he sought to keep the focus of his investigation on DHS employees, according to statements he made to Senate staffers that are part of the public record
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Wednesday that President Obama and his advisers did not interfere with the inspector general’s investigation. “As was reported more than two years ago, the White House conducted an internal review that did not identify any inappropriate behavior on the part of the White House advance team,” Schultz said. He cited a Senate report on the inspector general’s office from this April that said an inquiry was unable to verify Nieland’s contention that he was ordered to change the IG report over political concerns.
Whether the White House volunteer, Jonathan Dach, was involved in wrongdoing in Cartagena, Colombia, remains unclear. Dach, then a 25-year-old Yale University law student, declined to be interviewed, but through his attorney he denied hiring a prostitute or bringing anyone to his hotel room. Dach has long made the same denials to White House officials.
Dach this year started working full time in the Obama administration on a federal contract as a policy adviser in the Office on Global Women’s Issues at the State Department.
Dach’s father, Leslie Dach, is a prominent Democratic donor who gave $23,900 to the party in 2008 to help elect Obama. In his previous job as a top lobbyist for Wal-Mart, he partnered with the White House on high-profile projects, including Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign.
Read the full Washington Post report, here.
Judge Andrew Napolitano stopped by "Fox and Friends" this morning to analyze the potential fallout from the bombshell report. At the time, Jay Carney said no one at the White House was involved.
The key question for the judge was about whether a crime may have been committed inside the White House. The judge explained that delaying the release of information is more of a "political" issue than a crime.
But he said it is a crime if an investigator from the executive branch intentionally misled an investigator from the Senate.
"You're looking for a conspiracy, an agreement amongst people in the White House to keep the truth from the Senate investigators. ... The Washington Post says that happened," said Napolitano, who added that it seems like it was an effort to keep damaging information from voters before the 2012 election.
Watch the judge's analysis above.
Later in the show, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) weighed in, pointing out that there are hotel records and other evidence.
"Remember, there were nearly two dozen Secret Service and military personnel that were either fired or reprimanded. But the concern is that when it came to the White House and the White House taking care of its own personnel, totally different standard and perhaps some misdirection and some cover-up to make sure that that story never saw the light of day before the 2012 election," he said.
Watch the full interview below: