OTR Interviews

House Oversight Chair: IRS commissioner one step shy of perjury

IRS Scandal: House Oversight Chair Issa on the state of the House probe in the IRS targeting controversy, especially since Lois Lerner's emails are 'lost.' #IRSEmailExcuses

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 27, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This week, all eyes were on the Oversight Committee hearings. Chairman Darrell Issa, leading the charge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I subpoenaed you here tonight because, frankly, I'm sick and tired of your game playing in response to congressional oversight.

You testified under oath in March that you would produce all of Lois Lerner's emails subpoenaed by this committee. Commissioner, at a minimum, you did not tell the whole truth that you knew on that day.

We have a problem with you. And you have a problem with maintaining your credibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: And Chairman Darrell Issa joins us. Good evening, sir.

ISSA: Good evening, Greta. Thank you for your coverage of the impossible story of how everything seems to get lost if it leads to the truth.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you hear Morgan Wright, our expert, talk about finding these emails, because that is quite damning for the IRS and anyone who says it's unavailable.

ISSA: You are exactly right there. There's two sides to every email. Many of Lois Lerner's emails went to multiple recipients. A great deal of it can still be found.

The reality is what we learned in our last two hearings was that when they discovered they had lost this, the so-called crash drive, they had at least six months of backups. The commissioner himself and the counsel said they didn't try to recover them from those backups. The commissioner said it would have been expensive. You know, they would have you believe that this was so important that they sent it to a criminal lab to try to recover it, but then they weren't willing to simply run a backup tape.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, you have sent a subpoena I understand over to the FEC, because there is at least a report that Lois Lerner improperly shared information, confidential taxpayer information, with the FEC. First of all, did you send a subpoena to the FEC and is that information that I just said about sharing confidential information, is that correct?

ISSA: They are both correct. We sent -- we asked for the correspondence and any records left back to 1986 when Lois Lerner became the head of the FEC. Greta, understand, we now have Lois Lerner as a criminal conspirator in this activity. We don't know who all she conspired with. But Ways and Means have referred criminal charges. We, of course, have held her in contempt for improperly not telling us the truth after she said things like, "I didn't break any rules. I didn't break any laws." She broke rules, she broke laws. And it's very clear, after the Grassley revelation, this is somebody who was trying to hurt people with her actions. She didn't always get away with it, like when she sent 1.1 million records to the Department of Justice hoping to get prosecutions against these 501(c)4s. It didn't always work but she sure tried.

VAN SUSTEREN: The president says it's a "phony" scandal. He said there is not a smidgen of corruption. You have got a leak from the Department of Justice, the "Wall Street Journal," no criminal charges to be brought. You say that Lois Lerner is at least involved in a criminal conspiracy. So, now what? Where does that leave you?

ISSA: Well, it leaves us at odds with a president who initially said this was awful, he was going to get to the bottom of it, then turned it into yet another one of those "it's not a scandal and it's just Republicans." Well, it's not just Republicans. The reason 75 percent, three out of four Americans are outraged and don't trust the IRS is because they shouldn't trust the IRS. The commissioner himself did not tell the whole truth in front of our committee when he knew there was a problem with these emails. He says he didn't do it, but his agency leaked to the White House months before we ever got told.

And, remember, Greta, you would not know about the additional emails if we hadn't got -- subpoenaed and gotten documents from the Department of Justice and then asked them on Monday, what about these documents, and on Friday, they bury in a report trying to say, oh, by the way, there are these lost two years of emails.

VAN SUSTEREN: One quick question. When is your next hearing and who are you going to call?

ISSA: Well, we did not adjourn either of the two hearings we had. So we can recall either of those witnesses at any time. Right now, as your earlier interviews indicated, we are starting to go through depositions of professionals inside the system. If you look at the 61 questions we asked in the interrogatory, we did so, so we could figure out who it is we talked to get to the truth on these. Additionally, we have some more discovery subpoenas that will go out to try to recover more of these emails that Lois Lerner and others did as they began their process of conspiring, if you will, to hurt conservative groups because of what they believed.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Just a real quick answer. Commissioner Koskinen, was he honest with you? Did he spin you, or uninformed? What's the word you use?

ISSA: He was disingenuous, which is a nice term or, in fact, he didn't tell the whole truth, which is what I said in front of the committee. I believe he is probably one step short or shy of perjury, but he's certainly way past meeting his obligation as an officer of the court to tell the whole truth.

VAN SUSTEREN: Chairman, thank you, sir.

ISSA: Thank you, Greta.