Attorney General Eric Holder facing full House contempt vote

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 20, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF., HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Today, we recorded contempt to the House. There is still time for a contempt of the House to be avoided if in fact the documents we have asked for are delivered by the time that the House is scheduled for a contempt vote.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now that was the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Congressman Darrell Issa, just moments after his committee voted to recommend that the Attorney General Eric Holder be held in contempt of Congress.

Now here to explain what it means to what happens next is Iowa Congressman Steve King.

Congressman, great to see you. Thanks for being with us.

REP. STEVE KING, R-IOWA: Good to be back on, Sean. Thank you.

HANNITY: Let's start with this simple question. What happens next here? Don't they have to go through what is known as a privilege log and identify on each item, why they are justifying not handing this over to Congress?

KING: Well, I would say this, that they have gone through these motions now all the way through in the Oversight Committee. The privilege component of that is looking back at some historical pieces of this, but I believe now what this means is that unless all of this date is provided and it could actually probably be at the 11th hour and some negotiations made by the speaker, I think it comes to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote on holding Eric Holder, our attorney general in contempt of Congress. That starts some things in motion that I guarantee you the White House doesn't want to see.

HANNITY: OK. But the attorney general is not going to enforce the law against himself. So, the question then becomes for you guys in the House, you do have the authority after speaking with many constitutional scholars today, you do have the authority to enforce this resolution and that would mean to bring it to civil court and that would be, you know, to get a decision out of the courts. Isn't that the next step for you legally speaking?

KING: Well, there is that case. I have been looking at that track of legal logic to take it to the civil court and but also there is some reasonable legal analysis that says that it goes to the U.S. attorney here in the D.C. Circuit who would convene a grand jury.


KING: And if that turns out to be the case convening a grand jury, then that starts the indictment process and that is something that is going to be awfully hard for Eric Holder or the president to resist. And this assertion of executive privilege I think is, it is the crescendo announcement of the day. As I looked at that, I just had this flashback that it was 40 years guy this week that the Watergate break-in took place. Now it wasn't the executive privilege date but President Nixon asserted executive privilege then. The president has mirrored that now. That means that that implies very strongly if it doesn't bring a conclusion to us out here, that this information that Darrell Issa is searching for and trying to subpoena links inside the White House itself, most likely that the information was prepared for the president's eyes and perhaps it was seen by the president.

HANNITY: OK. But before we make that leap, I want to make sure everybody understands fully the process that you in Congress will go through. So, what you are going to do is you're going to bring a civil suit to a federal district court. And from that point, you get to enforce this contempt, you are going to ask the court to have the Justice Department list all documents, what they call a privilege log which, will require them to go through each document and explain how executive privilege applies. If we are talking about 1,300 documents out of what, 140,000, they will have to explain each and every one how executive privilege applies, correct?

KING: Well, yes, Sean. And I leap past that because I will just tell you that I've conclude that, that is not going be a defensible position on the part of the White House. That it is outside of the purview of the oversight of the United States Congress. That would imply their National Security is at stake or their some very, very delicate issue of National Security. I don't think so. But I think they cannot succeed in that assertion and so I would leap to this. I think that at that point, the grand jury that is convened is going to most likely come back with an indictment of Eric Holder.

HANNITY: This is fascinating. So, you really do believe this will be an indictment. What would the indictment be? Well, we know for example that he made statements to the committee that seven months later, he said, oops I got them wrong. He made a statement last week and came back this week, oops that was wrong. We know that in U.S. vs. Nixon that you cannot exert executive privilege to cover up wrongdoing of any kind. So, that precedent has been very well set. Are you saying -- what are you saying the charge would be then Congressman?

KING: Well, contempt of Congress. My legal advisers in house advise me that that has a potential charge that Eric Holder would be facing --unlikely to go that far -- but could potentially be up to one year in jail. So, that's the statute that our people looking at right now. And I don't think they will let it go that far.

HANNITY: Wouldn't they also, you mean, we just had the trial of Roger Clemens and lying to Congress was at the heart of all six allegations and perjury, et cetera. So those are very serious charges that we are talking about here. I mean, what is it that possibly if we look at the three things that a president can use, the three reasons, one is for the military or diplomatic or sensitive national security matters, I believe in the right of executive privilege for a president because there are issues involving national security. The question here is what could possibly, you know, of the criteria that has been established, what possible, you know, reason can they cite here on this -- in this case as we have been explaining all night? Can you think of one?

KING: You know, the only thing I can think of is, is there some connection of national security that's so volatile that the president would take this extraordinary step and declare this executive privilege. Now, that would be national security for foreign relations. So, would that imply that the relations with Mexico certainly would be a direct component of that. I don't even want to utter what I imagine could be to go to that depth. I don't think they could prove such a thing and I think if I would say what my imagination tells me, it would be too volatile even on television.

HANNITY: All right. Last question. Because they did this so last minute, because usually if you invoke executive privilege, you do so very early on. And this went on for a full 18 months and there has been this back and forth and this game. Do you think that was done for political purposes? And I'm not asking you to speculate. But wouldn't it be usual to do this at the very beginning of an investigation?

KING: If they had such a case, I would think so. I think this is a desperate move. And I think that they believe that they could bluff Darrell Issa because Darrell Issa didn't blink in that meeting that they had, that short meeting that they had. They had to play another card because one can conclude this. There was knowledge of Fast and Furious either before or as it was being implemented or knowledge of the cover-up after the fact and it is most likely goes inside the White House and the documents that Darrell Issa is asking for, I believe were prepared for the president's eyes. Whether he saw them or not I don't know. I believe they were prepared for the president's eyes and that is why they are asserting executive privilege. Otherwise, they would have pushed Eric Holder under the bus and in order to protect the White House.

HANNITY: So, that means the president in that interview when said he had no knowledge of it until he saw it on the news that that would have been an inaccurate statement and similarly the testimony before Congress by the attorney general would have been false, correct?

KING: Sean, I agree with that rationale. And having watched Watergate unfold I will say that we will find out the whole truth to this.

This really launched some things in motion today and I think the House will vote on the full motion for contempt of Congress and once that happens, the barrel is over the waterfall. We will see what happens in the wreckage afterwards.

HANNITY: Thank you, Congressman. Appreciate it. Thanks for being with us.

KING: Thank you, Sean.

Content and Programming Copyright 2012 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2012 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.