OTR Interviews

Issa: I have 'no doubt' that Attorney General Eric Holder became part of the cover-up in 'Fast and Furious'

First of 3 congressional report blames 5 ATF agents for 'Fast & Furious' scandal


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 31, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: And now to the Fast and Furious scandal. The report is in. Who is to blame for the botched gun-running operation? House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa is one of the authors of this new report. He joins us. Good evening, sir.

REP. DARRELL ISSA, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Good evening, Greta. And thanks for continuing to cover this important issue.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'll tell you what struck me from the report is that it looks like -- and tell me if I'm wrong -- you don't mention the attorney general, Eric Holder. Does that mean that he has no culpability in this, no -- he's not in -- I mean, I don't see him named.

ISSA: Greta, this is part one, and it's part one of three. What we did was we tried to do the appropriate forensic analysis of what went wrong. We weren't dealing with the post-discovery, the post-Brian Terry murder, we were dealing with what went wrong in the process.

VAN SUSTEREN: So is it fair to say, though, what went wrong in the process does not include the attorney general of the United States?

ISSA: As far as we know, the attorney general was AWOL. It wasn't something where he put time or energy into it. He didn't read the briefing. He wasn't involved in these kinds of things. And candidly, Lanny Breuer and a lot of people below him apparently rubber-stamped and allowed others to look at the details of what was going on.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, but that's different than saying that he -- you know, that he actively was involved in some cover-up or something else. I mean, it's, like, you make no allegation of that in the report, right?

ISSA: That'll come later.


ISSA: You have no question in your mind, I have no question in my mind, at some point, Eric Holder became part of the cover-up. There were 10...

VAN SUSTEREN: You -- I -- I don't have any -- I mean, I have no information.

ISSA: Well, yes, you do. We all do. There were 10 months between the time Congress was lied to, the American people were lied to, and the time it was retracted. And one of the things that Eric Holder and the Justice is covering up is everybody who either knew it was a lie when it was told to us or became aware that it was a lie during that 10 months -- you're an officer of the court. You know when you discover that a crime has been committed, when you discover that Congress has been lied to both under oath and in writing, you don't sit there and wait for somebody else to correct it for 10 months, do you?

VAN SUSTEREN: So I understand -- make sure I got that, your report basically goes up until February of last year, when you got the -- when you got the letter from the Justice Department, looking back at what had happened.


VAN SUSTEREN: So this is just stage one?

ISSA: This is what Eric Holder and the Justice Department, the acting director of ATF, DEA, Janet Napolitano -- what they need to look at in the way of the stovepiping that went on, the management mistakes that went on, the failure to oversee that went on. That's part of the reform of our committee.

We view this, like the inspector general's report that we expect to have out soon, as the forensic of what went wrong that allowed Fast and Furious to occur.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so -- so I have this right, is that -- is that he wasn't actively engaged where it could have been prevented, essentially. Is that what you're saying in the report?

ISSA: As far as we can tell, this -- Eric Holder had nothing to do with ignoring Fast and Furious ... Now, Lanny Breuer's a different story, and it'll be in the next segment.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what's the latest on the contempt?

ISSA: It takes a few weeks to put it together properly. House counsel is taking the lead. We're working with...

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I don't buy that. That -- I mean, if -- you know, those things are not that hard to put together. And you've got a lawyer who -- I mean, lawyers had a couple weeks to do it. That just ...

ISSA: Well, I appreciate your saying that, but remember, these aren't people who bill their time. They're not padding their time. These are career lawyers, in-house counsel who are leading it. The same career lawyers previously worked on other cases, including when the shoe was on the other foot and it was the Democrats who were leading.

So we're doing this deliberatively with career people. These are not Republicans or Democrats. We expect to have it fairly shortly. I've looked at drafts. For me, as a non-lawyer, I'd say we're pretty close.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I guess I always -- I always put sort of a heavy -- I put a hammer to lawyers' heads a little bit more than anybody else. Anyway, thank you, sir.

ISSA: Thank you, Greta.