Take Two for May 31, 2013

Friday Flashback: Eric Holder, immigration reform and more

Attorney General Holder Testifies To House Appropriations Committee On Justice Dept. Budget

Win McNamee/Getty Images

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before the House Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill April 18, 2013 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from Holder on the topic of the fiscal year 2014 Justice Department budget request.

It's time for the Friday Flashback, where we look back and discuss the week's biggest topics with the journalists that cover them. This week, we brought Reed Wilson from the National Journal and Heidi Moore from the Guardian.

On tap this week:

This episode in the trials of Eric Holder began a couple of weeks ago, when we learned the Justice Department had secretly obtained phone records of AP reporters.  

Yesterday, the Attorney General and other officials from the Dept. of Justice invited the Washington press corps and news executives to a meeting. It was supposed to explain some new policies about how and when the government will go after reporters. A lot of news organizations declined, however, because the meeting was supposed to be "off the record."  

A number of news organizations did attend, including the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. They report that the Justice Department seems pretty serious about putting some new measures in place. Enough damage control to at least get the press off Eric Holder's back?

The words most often associated with Eric Holder seem to be, "lightening rod." I think a lot of people were surprised when he didn't stand down after the President was re-elected. Republicans have been after him for years. Now he has the press mad at him, and even Democrats are questioning his judgment. What is it about Eric Holder that puts him in the center of so many storms?

Also this week, news that President Obama has settled on a former Bush official, James Comey to be the new head of the FBI. Is this a good move or just a sort of politically expedient one? Which leads us to David Petraeus, the former general, and former CIA chief who cashed in big time this week. Heidi Moore explains. 

There were a couple of developments in the immigration reform debate, including a study that shows immigrants pay more into programs like Social Security than they take out. Also, a group of religious evangelicals announced a campaign to support reform, but even in the face of popular support, the Republican-controlled House can't be counted on to deliver. What's the temperature on this right now, and how is the House speaker, John Boehner going to play this?

 Meanwhile, there's that pesky economy. We've been hearing some good news, especially from the housing market. Here in Los Angeles, there are some neighborhoods where the market has gone bubbly. All those familiar scenes from the past: initial offers above asking price, bidding wars. This is playing out in other markets as well. Did we learn nothing?

Has this sense that the recovery is picking up steam, along with a big drop in the size of the deficit, taken away any urgency for the Congress and the administration to address some ongoing problems?  


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