OTR Interviews

What's the hold-up in 'Fast and Furious' contempt for Holder?

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa gives the latest on possible contempt citation for attorney general over 'Fast and Furious' scandal

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 14, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Does Attorney General Eric Holder have trouble? Is he going to get served with a contempt of Congress notice, or is the talk about contempt for the attorney general just talk, that's all, and no real threat? Congressman Darrell Issa insists the attorney general is wrongfully withholding Fast and Furious documents from Congress. Congressman Issa joins us. Good evening, sir.

REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF.: Greta, I agree with everything you just said.

VAN SUSTEREN: Except?

ISSA: Clearly the attorney general is failing to comply with the subpoena. He said he's not going to comply with the subpoena. One of the frustrating parts of this is the part he won't comply with the most is who was responsible for the Fast and Furious which he said was deeply flawed and yet nobody at Justice has been --

VAN SUSTEREN: It seems like a simple thing. He goes before Congress, he should be asked the question, who authorized it and who was the highest person who knew all about it. And that seems like an impossible information to get out, and he said it's because it's being investigated internally. But I'm curious -- is there an appetite within the House ever the GOP leadership to issue a contempt citation?

ISSA: I think after the abuses under Nancy Pelosi, it's very clear that we want to sort of have bolts and suspenders and double and triple checks. So we want to make sure we've made our case and we've exhausted all other opportunities, including whistleblowers and other ways to get this information. But there will come point there's nothing left but to say we find broadly this attorney general to be in contempt.

VAN SUSTEREN: But this has been going on for over a year-and-a-half. You have a border agent who has been murdered and you have a family who is grieving and wants that information. And it seems like a simple thing, and it's like it's sort of caught up in the Washington whatever. And I know you want to like dot every "i" and cross every "t," but time is running out to get answers for this family. And I hope -- I mean, I hope that by you saying you want to wait you don't mean until after the election so nobody gets punished either way politically for this.

ISSA: Politically is a different question. But the Terry family and I will be together. We are going to be naming -- Congress, House and Senate, and the president has signed a bill that names the border patrol station where Brian Terry worked out of, it's brand new but it's where he was working out of, it names it after him.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm curious, is the decision going to be made about whether a contempt citation goes to the attorney general? Will that be made before the election?

ISSA: I've already made a decision that we have been unable to get what we legitimately are entitled to. Members of my committee on the Republican side to a person are totally convinced. Our case right now, we are trying to work with the Democrats on the committee. We are trying to work with the 31 Democrats who asked the president to make Eric Holder cooperate, 30 of whom are not on my committee. We are trying to make the case across the aisle. And we will give it a little time --

VAN SUSTEREN: What's a little time? And we hear rumors -- I'll tell you the rumors. You hear Speaker Boehner isn't wild about this, I don't know if it's true or not. But is this going to happen? I think everything should be looked at fully, although I do think a year-and-a-half is plenty of time but that's just how I think. Will this be done -- will a decision be made before election? Will either the subpoena or the contempt citation, will it go over there or not before the November election?

ISSA: Absolutely. When I mentioned Brian Terry's family, I expect to have it by then. Right now what we are doing is we sent out to every member ever Congress 64 pages laying out the case for contempt. We've asked them, do they have any questions? Can we show them the proof? Because a lot of them, especially our Democratic members, they have misinformation on what is owed and what hasn't been delivered so he felt what we are trying do, and this is politics at its best, we are peeling off, making sure Republicans understand, but we are trying to peel off Democrats so they understand that if when the shoe is on the other foot they are going to want any administration to be more cooperative than this particular one has been in an area where a man was murdered.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course the attorney general could end this tonight. He could call your cell phone as you walk off the set. This could be handled quite quickly unless there's some legal impediment he can't give you the information. I'm just unaware of it. But this really is in largely in their hands.

ISSA: Exactly. The people who lied to Congress and then covered it up, the people --

VAN SUSTEREN: They would say it was a mistake. They wouldn't call it a lie, but whatever.

ISSA: Well, the people who knew the truth and helped with the mistake --

VAN SUSTEREN: In a letter. I mean, it's in writing. I agree with you.

ISSA: And live testimony.

VAN SUSTEREN: I saw it.

ISSA: But more important than that, because that came after the fact, the people who approved -- had the bad judgment to approve this, some of them are clearly here in Washington and some of them are high-rankling. It may not go to Eric Holder. He's of testified it doesn't. But all I'm saying, if you want to have people accountable, and you mentioned the Terry family, don't wait until this term is over and people can leave at then of the term. Hold people accountable who made the bad decision.

VAN SUSTEREN: But the person who made the bad decision may still be work in the government to make more bad decisions.

ISSA: I guarantee they are.

VAN SUSTEREN: I didn't get to ask you about the $500,000 limit on the party.

ISSA: The answer of the $500,000 is simple. It should be how much you spend per attendee. Don't let them have 80 or 100 come instead of 300 and then stay under the limb. When you make a limit make sure it is about per person how extravagant per person it is.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you, sir.

ISSA: Thank, you Greta.