Interviews

Shameless? Rep. Issa responds to president's criticism

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 24, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, it's said behind closed doors, the president blasting California Congressman Darrell Issa as shameless because of a pamphlet he has out thanking the president for bipartisan support that provided victims of sexual assault legal protection.

In that comment there, if we can just roll back to that, guys, you can read this as well as I can there.

Bottom line, Congressman Issa with us right now.

He ends by calling you shameless, Congressman. What do you think of that?

REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF.: Well, you know, the president signed 23 pieces of legislation my committee sent to him during my chairmanship, and a number of other outside-of-the-committee legislation. And I was grateful for each of them.

I was grateful when Vice President Joe Biden not only called me his friend, but invited me to the White House, when we passed the expansion of the Violence Against Women's Act. In this case, this was Mimi Walters, another congressperson, out of Orange County. It was her basic bill. I supported it, worked for it.

And we put something out when the president signed it. He's making a big deal over something that I'm a little surprised that he's punching down, but he is. He also made a statement that I found actually worthy of "Saturday Night Live." He said there'd been no scandals during his administration.

And I supposed he could say it was the most transparent administration in history, too, but that's just not the case. No administration is without scandals, and no administration should expect that we won't agree and work together when we can and disagree and hold the administration accountable when they're not right.

CAVUTO: All right, so, on this, you were praised for the kind of bipartisan support he supposedly and you, of course, wanted, and he had wanted. But, in this case, he called you shameless for bragging about it, I guess, in this. How do you answer that?

ISSA: Well, actually, he used the worse chutzpah in his denouncing.

And I found it interesting, because we have put out dozens and dozens pieces of literature in this campaign, as you often would. And we have gone out of our way to try to put the positive side of what I have been doing.

Neil, you covered me for many years. I had 10 years on Oversight, but the last two years, we have been working on a number of pieces of legislation, including the Freedom of Information Act, something that dramatically expanded your ability to get information about the administration. And he signed it.

And it's the same situation. I appreciate the president signing things when he does. You know, just before the break, we had a major vote in which I sided with the president on what was called JASTA. And I sided with the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Now, I was on the losing side. The majority of Republicans voted the other way.

CAVUTO: We should explain this is the measure that allows 9/11 victims' families to go ahead and, in this case, sue Saudi Arabia. Right?

ISSA: And, you know, the fact is that I have been an independent voice in Congress. I certainly held the Bush administration accountable many times for their failures.

And, you know, what I find interesting is simply that he came out to my district and wanted to make a campaign issue. Look, I'm very willing to run happily on the 10 years that I was involved in oversight and the last two years in which I have been working on immigration reform on a bipartisan basis and working on patent and trademark and copyright reform.

CAVUTO: What's interesting, Congressman -- and, by the way, we did reach out to your opponent, Doug Applegate. We have not heard back.

But what is interesting is the president has long bemoaned the fact that -- or his charge that Republicans are not very much into compromise or bipartisan anything. Here's an example where you do, and he still rips you for it.

ISSA: Well, it's campaign season.

Vice President Biden wouldn't tell people that Congressman Issa wasn't just his Republican friend, but his friend, probably today, but when we were working together on expanding the violence against women's protection, we did.

Neil, even though it's a shorter season than it used to be, there is a time in which people on both sides of the aisle get together and we get good legislation passed, and then there's a time for campaigning. As you probably have been seeing this morning, we have 10,000 National Guardsmen that are having tens of thousands of dollars ripped back from them after they met their commitment to reenlist, to go to combat, and there's bipartisan support right after this election.

We will be back in Washington, if the administration doesn't act, passing a law that prohibits taking that money from those men and women who kept their part of the bargain. There are lots of issues that aren't partisan.  Of course, oversight is partisan, by definition.

CAVUTO: Right.

ISSA: The -- one party always wants to say they don't see a problem. The other party says they do.

But the fact is, my predecessor in Congress held the Bush administration accountable. I held the Bush administration accountable when we were in the majority. That's our job. And I think the American people don't want a parliamentary system or a rubber stamp. I think they want accountability.

CAVUTO: Well, you either like bipartisan and reaching across the aisle or you don't. You certainly don't do it this way.

Congressman, thank very, very much. I appreciate it.

ISSA: Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

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