OTR Interviews

Rep. Gowdy: There's evidence of a 'systematic intentional decision to with hold certain documents from Congress' on Benghazi

South Carolina congressman on how a select committee could be the only way to get elusive answers in the Benghazi terror attacks and Pres. Obama's stunning comment on the Ukraine


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 2, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: big development in Benghazi. Today, Speaker of the House John Boehner announcing the House will form a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks. Also, the Oversight Committee announcing it will subpoena Secretary of State John Kerry.

Representative Trey Gowdy joins us. Good evening, sir.

REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: Good evening. How are you?

VAN SUSTEREN: Good. What do you think about this select committee?

GOWDY: I'm glad the Speaker did it. I had called for it several months ago. Despite the fact that I'm on one of the committees of jurisdiction, I think 20 months is too long to get answers to questions. And I think with the Ben Rhodes memo that was the straw that broke the camel's back with respect to the Speaker. So not only are we trying to get questions with respect to Benghazi, we're also investigating what appears to be a White House cover-up and one of the worst explanations for why they didn't turn the document over, is I think the speaker just finally lost his patience. I'm glad he did what he did.

VAN SUSTEREN: What difference does this make if it's a select committee? How does this make a big difference in the investigation?

GOWDY: Well, instead of having the Department of Defense with Armed Services, I mean, we were so pigeon holed or fragmented. Foreign Affairs has jurisdiction over the State Department, Armed Services over the Department of Defense, Oversight fills in the gaps. You just need one committee than can send subpoenas. If you want to have Greg Hicks and the station chief from Tripoli and Hillary Clinton all sitting at the same table, you need a committee that has the power to do that, and a select committee would have the power. It crosses all jurisdictional boundaries. You have subpoena power and you can work in a really coordinated effort. And, you know, I think our chairmen have done the best job they can do but you have a tendency to stick within your own bailiwick and we need somebody to cross the lines. We need the lines to disappear frankly.

VAN SUSTEREN: Secretary of State John Kerry has been subpoenaed by House Oversight. Why?

GOWDY: Well, Greta, if you go back and read some of the old quotes -- and I know administration officials hate it when we go back and read what they said a year ago. But a year ago, he said with respect to Benghazi, if you're having any trouble getting information let me know. Well, Mr. Secretary, we're going to let you know. We're not getting the information. This email we should have gotten --


VAN SUSTEREN: Is it bureaucracy or hiding it?

GOWDY: Well, I have evidence that not only are they hiding it but there's an intent to hide it. I can't disclose that evidence yet, but I have evidence that there was a systematic intentional decision to with hold certain documents from Congress, and we're just sick of it. So we're going to get him to come explain why we're getting documents 20 months late.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Are you going to be on this select committee?

GOWDY: The Speaker is going to make that decision.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you want to be?

GOWDY: Here's what I can tell you. I have a picture -- if he thinks I'm one of the best questioners in Congress -- what I told him today is you need to put the best questioners, the best investigators in Congress on that select committee. I think Chaffetz is great. I think Jimmy Jordan is great. The speaker can decide whether he thinks an old washed-up prosecutor from South Carolina is good or not. But I'm going to help the committee regardless of what position, if any, I have. I will volunteer to be a summer intern because I want the family members of those four victims, each of whom I promised I will get you the truth, I want to be able to keep that promise.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Congressman, I want to play a soundbite for you. This is President Obama today answering a question about the crisis in Ukraine, and listen carefully, sir.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The notion that this is some spontaneous uprising in eastern Ukraine is belied by all the evidence of well-organized, trained, armed militias with the capacity to shoot down helicopters. Generally, local protestors don't possess that capacity, of surface-to-air missiles or whatever weapons were used to shoot down helicopters.


VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think he wants a do over on that or not?

GOWDY: You know what? If you didn't know better, you would think that he was a Republican member of the House describing what happened in Benghazi. The only thing he left out is the protestors were using defensive moves, military moves that have to be trained. I am stunned that he said that about the Ukraine when the evidence is just as good if not better with respect to the attack in Benghazi. I'm sure he would like to rephrase that answer to the question.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think his staff gasped when they heard him say that? It is the description of Benghazi that so many people said, that the fire power on the ground in Benghazi was significant power, that it wasn't just a bunch of fire crackers or something.

GOWDY: I think his staff has been gasping a lot lately. When you have someone that's supposed to be a professional communications person sounding like Jeff Spicoli from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," talking to Bret Baier the other night, using the word "dude," and when you have them trying to say a memo was not Benghazi when you produced it in response to a subpoena about Benghazi, they have been gasping a lot this week.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you, sir. If you hear any news about this select committee, do let us know.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am. But you do the same. If you hear something, you let me know, OK?

VAN SUSTEREN: I will, indeed.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am.