OTR Interviews

'Fast and Furious': Where do the lies end and the truth begins?

Do high-ranking officials know more than they are telling Congress about the ill-fated 'Fast and Furious' sting?


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 6, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: They knew. That is what Oversight Chair Darrell Issa says. Contrary to what the Justice Department officials claim and have been claiming, Congressman Issa says newly obtained wiretaps show that senior Justice Department officials knew about and approved Fast and Furious tactics.

Now, as you know, the ATF Fast and Furious program allowed illegally obtained weapons to walk over the border from the United States and into Mexico. Two of those guns were found at the December 2010 murder scene of slain border agent Brian Terry.

Now, don't forget it took only weeks to get answers and even action on the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Columbia. So ask yourself, why is it taking more than a year-and-a-half and still no answers for the family of murdered Brian Terry?

Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz joins us. Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, it's a big hearing tomorrow before the House Judiciary Committee. Attorney General Eric Holder is going to be there. What are you going to ask him?

CHAFFETZ: Well, we want to know the same basic questions. Who knew about this? And then who participated in the coverup because it is crystal clear to me and to people like Trey Gowdy and Chairman Issa that we have been lied to at Congress. We have been totally misled by the Department of Justice.

President Obama back in March of 2011 promised that there would be exposure to this. They would rectify the problem and hold people accountable. That hasn't happened! And so the attorney general could have put this to bed a long, long time ago, as you pointed out. But he hasn't done that because I think there's a coverup going on.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the -- what the Justice Department says is they disagree very vigorously with Congressman Issa's statements. They say that he's got the facts wrong. And so -- I mean, they're battling you on this one. They say that you guys are all wrong on this.

CHAFFETZ: Well, remember, we issued a subpoena back in October, a subpoena which they have not complied with. Speaker Boehner about three weeks ago sent a letter over to the Department of Justice, asking some very basic questions of them and the White House. They have not complied with that. So they refuse to provide the documents, which if in the case -- what they're arguing at the Department of Justice would clear them of our misconceptions, then provide us the documents.

But I think it's crystal clear, Greta, that the reason they don't give us the documents and only the whistleblowers are giving us the documents is that it demonstrates that what the Department of Justice is saying in writing, in their testimony and what they're leading people to believe by talking in the media is not true! And that's why they haven't come clean thus far.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, with all due respect to the committee, it is now a year-and-a-half and this border agent family still doesn't have answers. And we got answers really lickety-split fast out of Peru in the Secret Service scandal. You guys have sent a subpoena over. It hasn't been enforced. No contempt citation. You look awfully weak. You look like that, you know, that you're just -- you're just going to hold hearing after hearing after hearing after hearing. This is getting nowhere fast.

I mean, when are you going to -- if you really believe this is a coverup, when are you going to put some teeth into the investigation and get the answers?

CHAFFETZ: Oh, I think we're being slow walked. I think the administration wants to make this to go past the election. Now that Speaker Boehner is engaged, Leader Cantor, they've asking for this information, too. I think it's going to raise to a whole 'nother level. I think we're trying to demonstrate that we're bending over backwards to give the administration every opportunity to comply and provide this basic information. But the clock's ticking. I think we -- they're pushing us towards...

VAN SUSTEREN: But you say it's ticking...

CHAFFETZ: ... no other resolution except contempt!

VAN SUSTEREN: Then you say the clock's ticking. That's -- I mean, I listen to it, I think it's been a year-and-a-half. The clock is so ticked, and I mean, it's so gone by. You even been quoted as saying that Speaker Boehner will be sufficiently embarrassed by the continuing -- you know, the fact that this doesn't get results. So you've said that about the speaker.

I mean, I just don't -- I mean, this is a year-and-a-half. You guys, you know, have a lot of authority to ask questions and you've gotten nowhere fast!

And so, I mean, in some ways, like, you're -- you know, if you want those answers, you could get them, but you guys are letting it be slow walked. You're not getting answers because you're not putting any teeth into this investigation. And the family's sitting out there, wanting answers for their loved one!

CHAFFETZ: Yes. And remember, it was more than a year ago there were actually 31 Democrats who signed a letter to the White House, to the attorney general saying, You need to come clean on this. You have not provided this information. I just don't see where the outrage is. I mean, you look at a handful of people...

VAN SUSTEREN: But what are you going to do?

CHAFFETZ: ... Chairman Issa, myself -- well, that's -- Thursday, tomorrow...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, tell me what you're going to do.

CHAFFETZ: ... is a -- it's...

VAN SUSTEREN: How are you going to get the answers?

CHAFFETZ: Hey, if it was up to me, we would be in the contempt proceedings. You -- Greta, if anybody in America ignored a subpoena, they'd go to jail! And in this case, we can't even get the attorney general to come clean on this! I think we're left with no choice but to go to contempt. And until the country gets outraged...


VAN SUSTEREN: That's your leadership. That's your speaker. You guys own the House of Representatives. You got the Republicans over there. If you think that's the way to go, this is dragging on, if your subpoena doesn't get answered, if your letters don't get answered, if you get the attorney general down there and he doesn't answer the questions -- I mean, really, the ball's in your court, if you want to do something!

CHAFFETZ: The next step is tomorrow. But I'm not necessarily going to argue with you here, Greta. I think we're left with no other decision except to go to contempt because the attorney general has just totally ignored us.

And based on the documents that we have -- thank goodness for the whistle-blowers -- it is crystal clear to me, the evidence is there, the Department of Justice is lying. And people like Lanny Breuer and Jason Weinstein and these people have got to be held accountable! And they have got to be fired! And so far, it hasn't happened. And I -- I'm not here to argue with you on that point, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, they -- I mean, the thing is that, you know, whatever the truth is, the truth is. If the Justice Department says you guys are all nuts about this, they should bring the information and end it! That should be the end of it!


VAN SUSTEREN: If they are hiding something, you guys need to get it! You need to do it quickly. And you have the tools. But this has been dragging on, and the family really deserves much more than what we're -- what we were -- we're now giving them.

CHAFFETZ: Absolutely. And you have the same people, like Lanny Breuer and Jason Weinstein and these people in place, Gary Grindler, for instance, that are still in positions of power! They know -- even the Department of Justice said that the operation was fundamentally flawed. And yet you have the same information in place. You have the same people in place.

And as my colleague Trey Gowdy says, they don't even have a frowny face on their performance evaluations, for goodness sakes! So what are they doing about it? They're not taking the responsibility.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we'll...

CHAFFETZ: Congress has got to stand up for itself!

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we'll watch to see what you -- what you all do at the hearing tomorrow when the attorney general shows up and testifies. Congressman, thank you, sir.

CHAFFETZ: Thanks, Greta.