OTR Interviews

White House officials to be subpoenaed over Solyndra?

House panel set to vote Friday to authorize subpoenas for five White House officials in Solyndra scandal

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 15, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: And new development tonight that is going to put the White House a bit on edge. The battle over the Solyndra scandal is now heating up. It is so hot in two days it could even reach a boiling point. A House panel is threatening to subpoena White House officials, and that could happen on Friday.

So why is the House panel so hot? Because this now bankrupt solar company cost you, the taxpayer, one-half billion dollars, and the House Panel doesn't think it is getting answers from the Obama administration.

Joe Stephens of the "Washington Post" joins us. Good evening, Joe. And tell me, what is going on with this? Is the White House coming up with the answer to do what the house wants before Friday, or is this a subpoena battle?

JOE STEPHENS, "WASHINGTON POST": That is what makes it exciting. There is a threat of subpoena battle on Friday morning. We don't know what the White House is going to do. They said they have been cooperative and committee has not found anything that suggests anything is wrong. There is no reason to give them any more.

What we've seen before, it's kind of a game of brinkmanship. This is one year this week since this committee started the Solyndra investigation. Repeatedly they had this battle. The White House doesn't turn things over. The committee demands things and rattle sabers, and they reached a compromise a couple times. They subpoenaed documents originally and the committee wasn't getting what they wanted. The White House turned over some documents but not all the documents. You have to wait and watch and we'll all find out together.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there something specific that the House is looking for from the White House?

STEPHENS: They want to find out how the Solyndra loan was restructured. Before the Solyndra went under, it violated the terms of its loan. It almost went under. Instead, the administration restructured the loan gave them another chance at life and then they went under. As part of that private investors get ahead of the taxpayers to get repaid. Now the private investors are ahead of the taxpayers for repayment. And the committee says they want to find out how it happened. And to do that they need to talk to the people who were hands on, directly involved, and they haven't had that chance yet.

VAN SUSTEREN: Usually you find this smoking gun in e-mails or written documents. Has the White House surrendered all the documents that the committee has asked for?

STEPHENS: The White House has surrendered all the documents that the committee needs. That doesn't mean all the documents. We don't know how many documents there are. We don't know what are in the documents we haven't seen yet. The White House says has given everything that is responsive and that is really needed to do a thorough investigation, and it's a big nothing burger. There is nothing there. The committee doesn't believe that yet.

VAN SUSTEREN: And we should probably emphasize the subpoena is not going out for the president. It's going out for people who work at the White House, right?

STEPHENS: Right. They have to talk to the guys that do the work at the White House, the Office of Management and Budget. These are the people whose names on the e-mails. People who were talking worried about the company going on.

And what's kind of interesting is the OMB was more worried about Solyndra than the department of energy. The Department of Energy stepped in and gave Solyndra another chance at life. The OMB, they were kind of rolling their eyes, we don't know about this company. It looks like it's got rough sledding. It is an interesting tale and it will definitely be interesting what happens between now and Friday morning.

VAN SUSTEREN: We'll see who blinks first or if they work out some accommodation between them. Joe, thank you.

STEPHENS: Thank you, Greta.