This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 26, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The president has been put on notice by the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Congressman Darrell Issa sent a letter yesterday to the White House questioning why President Obama is claiming executive privilege over certain Fast and Furious documents.
Now in it, the chairman explains very clearly that by invoking this privilege, the president is admitting to one of two things. Now, either somebody inside the White House was quote, "Involved in managing operation Fast and Furious and the fallout from it," or option two, this power is being abuse with the goal of, quote, "further obstructing a Congressional investigation." An administration spokesman was quick to call the letter called absurd.
And late breaking news tonight, we are learning that last-minute efforts by the White House to prevent the vote failed. Reports say that the administration tried to present 30 pages of documents, all a last ditch effort to hold off this vote.
But here to elaborate on the very serious accusations in this late breaking news, is the man himself, House Government Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa. Congressman, welcome back sir.
REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF., OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIR: Thanks for having me back, Sean. And thanks for covering the important issue of Fast and Furious and the death of Brian Terry.
HANNITY: Well, this is the thing that's amazing to me, and we had the parents of Brian Terry on the program the other night, and they want answers. And they feel that the White House is obstructing the investigation. How long have you been looking into this, just to remind people?
ISSA: Well, it's about 18 months. And in that 18 months, there was 10 months in which we were flat-out lied too. Senator Grassley was lied to in a letter and we were also given live testimony that was false and it took about ten months before they finally owned up to it being exactly the opposite of what they said. They said, they never let guns walk, when in fact, Fast and Furious was about deliberately and knowingly letting 2,000 very powerful weapons cross the border with the knowledge of ATF and high-rankling individuals in the Justice Department.
HANNITY: Congressman, when you say flat-out lied to, wasn't Roger Clemens -- did he just spend the last five years of his life -- he was acquitted, but wasn't the issue whether he lied to Congress? Isn't that called perjury?
ISSA: Exactly. My committee referred Roger Clemens -- a bipartisan referral -- because they believed that he had given false testimony about his use of steroids in baseball. Well, in fact, it took dozens or hundreds of lawyers inside the Justice Department who knew that at various times, that guns had walked, not coming forward and telling the truth, in order to have 10 months of Senator Grassley and the American people all relying on a letter that simply was false.
HANNITY: All right. So, then, if that happened to Roger Clemens, we don't have a two-tiered justice system, do we, Congressman? Would the same recommendation then go for the people in the White House that lied to you, in terms of it being sent fourth for investigation by prosecutors?
ISSA: Well, very clearly the Justice Department was willing to prosecute not once but twice Roger Clemens, while in fact, they are unwilling to hold themselves to a standard of accountability. Ultimately the contempt vote scheduled for Thursday is very narrow. It's simply about the period of the cover-up, the ten months in which we were given false testimony. But it also is part of getting to the truth. If we can figure out the people who lied to get that false letter to us and then lied to keep it covered up, we may very well find that those are the same people who ultimately are responsible for Fast and Furious that need to be held accountable.
HANNITY: But didn't the attorney general himself lie to you, Congressman? I mean, he gave you false information. He said he didn't know about it until a few weeks before he testified in May of 2011. In fact, you found out that he knew about it many, many months earlier.
ISSA: We did find out he knew about it earlier than his original testimony would imply.
HANNITY: Is that a lie?
ISSA: He's corrected the record and said that he was mistaken. We try not to catch people in lies when it is in fact a mistake but what we really want to do is we want to be able to verify testimony given. For example, the former ATF director gave us two days of sworn testimony in which he talked about some documents, some e-mails that he sent to various people. Those were among the documents that we've asked for that we can't find any form of executive privilege on, and yet they have not only not been offered to us, but even today when representatives of my office and the speaker's office went to the White House to try to make a last ditch deal, those were not records they were willing to offer to us.
HANNITY: Congressman, it seems to me, and maybe I'm reading into this that, you know, the president is precipitating here a constitutional crisis in many ways by invoking executive privilege. He's going to have to explain on every one of these documents why he wants to invoke executive privilege. Now, that will probably get him past the election.
It seems to me that there had to be some political calculation here, either what is in that -- those documents is so embarrassing, so damaging that they didn't want to release it, and that they would rather go through this crisis, even though two to one there's a poll out today, the American people said that the President was not right to assert executive privilege here.
ISSA: Well, ultimately this bears a striking resemblance to something that happened when I was a very young man and you were probably a young boy. And that was when Nixon pushed the emerging discussion and discovery of the plumber's activity at Watergate, pushed it past the election. Ultimately he won that election overwhelmingly and then the facts eventually came out. In this case, I don't believe the fallout is directly the president, but he is pushing on behalf of key people who work for him. This issue probably past the election, hoping that his popularity will prevent us from getting to the truth. That's not something that I think is in the best interest of the Constitution, and ultimately the speaker has been very clear, very accommodating, but very clear that we have to get to the truth.
HANNITY: Let me ask you this because the president denied any knowledge of this and said he did not approve operation Fast and Furious. He said his attorney general did not approve operation Fast and Furious. If it turns out in fact they did, what does that mean?
ISSA: Well, if they have lied to the Congress, they will be held accountable.
ISSA: Through our process and by the voters. I think the important thing is that the American people don't want to have an executive privilege that's so broad that Congress can't get into things like Solyndra or Fast and Furious or the GSA scandal simply because everything seems to include a deliberative process.
So to a certain extent when Speaker Boehner, the speaker of the House says, we have to make sure we get to a balance that's constitutionally fair, he's fighting for sort of the freedom and transparency that groups on the left and the right are always encouraging me to make sure we do protect that balance between the various parts of our government, because if our branch doesn't assert itself, ultimately we are no longer the republic our founders wanted us to be.
HANNITY: It seems that the president in a lot of ways is not respecting checks and balances and the idea that we have co-equal branches of government.
Congressman, we will continue to follow this, and I hope the Terry family gets the answer they deserve, and I appreciate you being with us.
ISSA: OK. We will make sure the Terry family gets their answers.
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