Friday Lightning Round: Contempt charges for Lois Lerner?

Panel sums up this week's hot topics


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 4, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Every week viewers vote online for the topic of the Friday Lightning Round that we talk about first. And this week Lois Lerner and possible contempt charges against her. One, we are back with the panel.  Charles, what about this?

KRAUTHAMMER: It should have happened eight months ago. It should have happened on the day she tried to take the Fifth Amendment. She did, was allowed to get away with it right after making a statement declaring her innocence, which are incompatible. Trey Gowdy pointed it out at the time.  Unfortunately, the committee did not act at the time. You act eight months late and it looks a lot weaker.

I think she ought to be held in contempt. But I think that politics and the optics have changed over the last eight months. Big mistake.

BAIER: Kirsten?

POWERS: She waived her right when she declared her innocence. Look, she was a government employee paid to do this job. She should be accountable for what happened there and she should have to answer the questions. It seems like a no-brainer, but for some reason this person is able to hide behind her -- this claim that she has some Fifth Amendment protection that she waived.  And I think that she, you know, I would like to see the answers to the questions that they have for her.

BAIER: George?

WILL: Congress' ability to compel testimony is absolutely essential, not just with its legislative functions but to its equally important oversight function of the increasingly opaque and arrogant executive branch, and, therefore, they have to insist upon this right. This is also a lesson in why the American people are right to have divided government, because if the gavels weren't in the hands of Republicans at least in the House, there would be no oversight of this administration whatever.

BAIER: All right, state of the economy, jobs numbers out, 192,000 jobs added last month, a little smaller than in February, a little under what was predicted, but, basically the same. The unemployment rate stays the same at 6.7 percent. Thoughts about the economy, George?

WILL: Well, first, people should remember that we have to create 125,000 jobs a month just to keep up with the growth of the workforce. Second, if the workforce participation rate today were what it was in December, 2007, when the recession began, the unemployment rate today would be 9.7 percent.  We would be talking about how bad the recovery is. We wouldn't call this a recovery.

BAIER: Kirsten?

POWERS: The numbers are good. They are not fantastic. I don't think there's anything to be especially excited about. But, they revised up the last two months, which was good news. I think it continues the sort of steady, slow climb, you know, out of this recession.

BAIER: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: Steady, slow continuation of the weakest recovery since the Second World War. The good news is half a million added into the workforce. The bad news is about a quarter of a million who now are working part time who would like to work full time. And that rate called the U6, which is the total unemployment, actually increased. So, what it is consistent with the weak anemic, two percent, two-and-a-half percent growth a year, which is not -- again, the worst recovery since the Second World War.

BAIER: We will be back with the panel's winners and losers after a quick break.

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