OTR Interviews

Buyer's remorse: Senator says, 'The worst vote I ever took in the US Senate was to confirm Eric Holder...'

Republican senator Johnny Isakson says 'approving Eric Holder' was 'the worst vote I ever took in the United States Senate.'

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 3, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON, R-GA: Well, the worst vote I ever took in the United States Senate was to confirm Eric Holder, and the best letter I ever wrote was the letter asking him to resign after "Fast and Furious" last year. So I'm back to a batting average of .500 on Eric Holder.

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: So why does Republican Senator Johnny Isakson say that? He joins us. Nice to see you, sir.

ISAKSON: Greta, good to be with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: You were not the only Republican that voted for the nomination when Eric Holder was nominated for attorney general. There were about 20 Republicans including Senator Kyl and Senator Sessions, seemingly unlikely votes. But why do you say it was your worst vote?

ISAKSON: I did my due diligence. It turned out I was wrong and everything that happened since then has proven I am wrong. So any time I'm wrong I like to admit it, just like Eric Holder ought to do in terms of investigations of the press. He made two inconsistent statements about the press. Whatever the case might be, he said he would never do something like that and then on the other hand it turns out he signed the warrants on James Rosen at FOX. And he ought to admit to that. It ruined his credibility in terms of being attorney general.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has he done anything that has impressed you as being a really good thing?

ISAKSON: I have sat with Eric before. I've been around Eric before. I like Eric Holder. A agree with what Rudy Giuliani said about him as a person. But in terms of "Fast and Furious," in terms of not prosecuting voter intimidation in Philadelphia, in terms of what's happened in terms of the press here, he has just not proven himself to be worthy, in my judgment, of representing the president of the United States and you or me or the American people as attorney general.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think he lacks the last judgment or he's politically motivated? What do you make of his decisions that you don't like?

ISAKSON: Judgment. And when you look for an attorney that's going to represent you and represent your country, everything you look for is based on their judgment and their ability to judge things fairly and equitably. And I think he's been partisan in the way he's made judgments. I don't think he's done a good job for the people. I don't think he's served the president well.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think is going to happen?

ISAKSON: I don't know. I'm not a fortuneteller or mind reader, but something is going to come to a head, because this is very serious business.

VAN SUSTEREN: One of the jobs he has right now is to investigate the IRS, there's a criminal investigation from the Justice Department. Is there any way that you could have confidence in him in light of the fact -- I know that you disagreed with what happened before his testimony on I think the 15th of May --is there any way that you can have confidence in his investigation of the IRS?

ISAKSON: Not really because of exactly what you said on the testimony on the 15th of May, and then we found out on the 24th of May he signed the warrants on James Rosen. Anymore your statements before the public are inconsistent to turn over an investigation of the IRS, the agency that collects your taxes and pretty soon is going to run your health care is something the American people won't have confidence.

VAN SUSTEREN: What I don't understand is that when that testify is made on the 15th and if he went back to the office and thought, you know what, I signed a warrant for James Rosen, what I would have done or if I was advisor, I would have said fire off a letter to Congress and if it has to be confidential, but tell Congress. The problem is that nothing was ever done. That's the problem. He made no effort to rectify it.

ISAKSON: And he should have and he should have had recollection to have remembered. Even if he made the statement in good faith on the 15th of May he should have remembered what he had done with Rosen in terms of those warrants. He should have come back and said I erred in what I said.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why did you vote to confirm him?

ISAKSON: Because I interviewed him on the telephone. I asked him on Second Amendment issues and talked to him about other things I'm interested in. Quite frankly, Griffin Bell, a great former attorney general of the United States, a great attorney from Georgia, had recommended him. I took that advice at face value and I voted for Eric Holder. But Eric Holder's actions since that time have proven that vote to have been wrong.

VAN SUSTEREN: So now we wait -- it almost feels a little bit -- I mean, there's more and more people calling from the Republican side. Any Democrats publicly calling for him to resign?

ISAKSON: Publicly I haven't heard of any, no.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you had any conversations in the hallway? Any Democrats giving you a nod and wink that he want him to go?

ISAKSON: No winks and nods, but they may be coming.

VAN SUSTEREN: They may be coming? Is he going to be called up to the hill to testify again in reference to this?

ISAKSON: I understand the House is talking about bringing him back, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee made that statement I think yesterday.

VAN SUSTEREN: He's unhappy today with the response the DOJ gave the written letter of one of his deputies, and they were most impressed with it.

ISAKSON: They're trying to change the subject rather than answer the question.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, always nice to see you, sir.

ISAKSON: Thanks.