Exclusive: Boehner says House will hold Lerner in contempt

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," April 7, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Breaking tonight, one of the most powerful committees in the House now pushing for the Justice Department to begin a criminal case against a top IRS official. GOP lawmakers preparing to accuse Lois Lerner of misleading investigators and releasing private taxpayer information. This as another House Committee gets ready to vote to hold Ms. Lerner in contempt of Congress for her failure to compile with various subpoenas.

Now in an exclusive interview, Republican Speaker John Boehner joins me live. Mr. Speaker, great to see you.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Megyn, good to be with you.

KELLY: So, Lois Lerner, facing contempt charges this week, in addition to a push to have the deal, start a criminal case against her for what?

BOEHNER: Misleading the Congress. You know, when this story first broke, I asked the question, when someone asked me the question, well, who should be fired? I said I don't know -- I don't care who is gonna be fired. I wanna know who is going to jail. The fact is that the IRS -- there are specific laws that protect taxpayers and force the IRS to comply with the law. Somebody at the IRS violated the law.

KELLY: Uh-huh.

BOEHNER: Whether it was Lois Lerner or not, we'll find out.

KELLY: Uh-huh.

BOEHNER: But, the Ways and Means Committee, and the Government Reform and Oversight Committee, both committees have jurisdiction over this IRS investigation. They've been both working together. And as I understand, the Ways and Means Committee will go into executive session on Wednesday where they will go over this letter that they have put together, outlying names of taxpayers who have been harmed and aggrieved, and layout a case for how Ms. Lerner misled the committee.

KELLY: Is it just gonna be Lois Lerner or others at the IRS?

BOEHNER: I think we need to wait until Wednesday to see.

KELLY: Good. Is your information that it's not just Lois?

BOEHNER: I think we have to wait and see it on Wednesday.

KELLY: You're leaving the door open, interesting. So, now, if they both to hold her in contempt in that oversight committee this week, and that's supposed to happen, I think Thursday.

BOEHNER: Thursday.

KELLY: That she doesn't get held in contempt unless the full House supports that committee in its efforts. Is that gonna happen?

BOEHNER: I would expect after the Easter district work period, the Congress will take up that contempt resolution. Listen, I made clear, Lois Lerner was either gonna tell us the truth or we were going to hold her in contempt. And if she's not going to tell us the truth, we are gonna hold her in contempt. The House will vote. The House will hold her in contempt.

KELLY: Do you think it will be more than Lois Lerner there? Because there have been threats that the acting chief -- that the chief of the IRS, now, John Koskinen, could also face contempt of Congress charges because he's suggested the documents congress wants from him won't be produced for years.

BOEHNER: I think it's a little premature to get that far, but we know that Ms. Lerner gave up her right to plead the fifth. She refused to testify and she testified and spoke with the prosecutors of the Justice Department. I don't know why she wouldn't talk to the Congress and to the American people.

KELLY: Now, she said it's a partisan witch hunt in the Congress and she thinks, the DOJ is straightforward. But, listen, that's what her defenders have said. Let me ask you about this, because a couple years ago, you guys went over Eric Holder. He was held in contempt because he wasn't producing information -- all of it in connection with the Fast and fFurious, this gun-running thing. That's still held up in the courts.

BOEHNER: It's still in the court.

KELLY: When you refer these things out to the courts or you refer them to the DOJ, what confidence can the American have that there's gonna be any end to it, there's gonna be a resolution?

BOEHNER: I'm a big believer in transparency and accountability. The American people have a right to know what happened with regard to Fast and Furious, what happened at the IRS, what happened at Benghazi. And there is no one more serious about getting to the bottom of this than I am.

KELLY: OK. But you're detractors say -- you mentioned Benghazi. If you are so serious about getting to the bottom of that, why not appoint a select committee where it's one sort of clearing house for information, because you've got 190 members in the House who are in favor of a select committee and yet, you are over ruling or ignoring the will of your own majority.

BOEHNER: There are four committees that are investigating Benghazi. Four Americans were killed. Their families have a right to know what happened. And there's nobody, nobody more determined to get to the truth than I am. These committees all have subpoena power. At this point in time, I see no reason to break up all the work that's been done and to take months and months and months to create some select committee.

KELLY: But your own people want it. You got 190 House Republicans whose say they need it.

BOEHNER: I understand that. At some point, that may -- that may be required. At this point, it's not.

KELLY: Let me ask you about immigration. Because the reason, you know, the president didn't get through immigration reform in part is what, you know, the House wasn't in favor of it. He couldn't get it through the House. Our own Shannon Bream was speaking with Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, and would be 2016 presidential contender, and he had this to say about the issue.


JEB BRUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Someone who comes to our country because they couldn't come legally -- yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony. It's kind -- it's an act of love. It's an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime.


KELLY: They did it for love, your thoughts?

BOEHNER: Listen, to most people around the world, the United States is utopia. And frankly, most people around the world wanna come here. So, I understand what Jeb was saying, but we're also a nation of laws. And for those here without documents, they're gonna have to face the law at some point.

KELLY: Uh-huh. Do you think this is gonna be a deal breaker for Jed Bush for president?

BOEHNER: I do not. The American people want us to deal with immigration reform. It's become a political football over the last 15 years. I've tried to get the House to move on this now for the last 15 or 16 months. But every time the president ignores the law like the 38 times he has on ObamaCare, our members look up and go wait a minute, you can't have immigration reform without strong border security and internal enforcement. And how can we trust the president to actually obey the law and enforce the law that we would write?

KELLY: He's under more pressure now to do more by executive order on the subject of illegal immigration, to defer more deportations, to use his pen and his phone, as he says, to get around a Congress that he thinks is standing in the way of reform. If he does that, if he pursues that, what if anything do you do?

BOEHNER: That will make it almost impossible to ever do immigration reform because he will spoil the well to the point where no one will trust him by giving him a new law that he will implement it the way the Congress intended.

KELLY: You got into a weird online argument with Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report this weekend where he suggested that the House Republicans had expanded ObamaCare with a -- it's called the voice vote last week, and a voice vote is controversial because it doesn't really require to be to go on record, I gather. You came out and said we didn't expand ObamacCare.

Here's the bottom line, I trust Chris Stirewalt of Fox News. What he says is conservatives are mad over this House-passed fix because it mitigates some of ObamaCare's damage to small businesses, and in essence, what you've done is allowed democrats to "crow that they have finally broken the GOP blockade." Did you give on something you shouldn't have given on?

BOEHNER: Our goal through this is to protect the American people from the awful effects of this law and continue to work to try to repeal it. And so, over the last three years, it's probably has been eight or nine changes to ObamaCare the president actually signed into law, this being one of them. What this says is, if you're a small employer and you have a high detectable and high co-pay plan that there are caps under ObamaCare that would get rid of almost all these plans. What this did was take the cap away.


KELLY: I know. You think it's good?

BOEHNER: So, that small employers...

KELLY: You think it's good?

BOEHNER: Small employers can keep their plans and keep their health savings accounts.


KELLY: But the critics are saying, good or not, you broke the blockade of standing firm against any change.

BOEHNER: There are already have been eight or nine changes over the last three years.

KELLY: So, it's not the end of the block.


KELLY: Let me move on because I have two other subjects I want to ask about before you go. Number one, GOP looking more and more likely to possibly take the Senate, these political prognosticators, suggesting it may happen. If you get your way, GOP will have the House and the Senate. Still have a Democrat in the White House.

BOEHNER: That's correct.

KELLY: What good will it do to Republicans?

BOEHNER: I think it will give us an opportunity on Capitol Hill to put things on the president's desk and make him choose, veto or sign it. Up until now, Harry Reid has protected the president from all these difficult issues because he just doesn't bring him up in the Senate.

And so, I think, it gives us an opportunity to force the president's hand more often. We're not gonna win as many as those flights who we like but we're gonna win some of them.

KELLY: Do you think the GOP's gonna take the Senate?

BOEHNER: I do. I think, we have a real good opportunity. I think we have an opportunity to pick up seats in the House. My concern about the House especially is that the Democrats have continued to outraise us month after month after month and even though we're setting record for fundraising, we're being outraised by the Democrats. So, the only way they have a chance of getting the House back is to buy it. We can't let that happen.

KELLY: Some are suggesting that you are not going to be the speaker, even if the GOP retains control in 2014.

BOEHNER: I've heard those rumors before.

KELLY: What say you?

BOEHNER: Listen. My members know me, and they know me pretty well. We don't agree -- we don't disagree on all the big issues or frankly on big strategy. We had disagreements over tactical issues. But I've got a good relationship with my members and feel confident that I'll earn their support in the end of the year.

KELLY: Last question, there's been such a riff within the Republican party as you know, is not that uncommon as parties go, but the Tea Party, the more conservative Republicans versus the sort of main stream Republicans. Do you sense that narrowing at all, that gap?

BOEHNER: I think there is a greater understanding. As I said earlier, there is no issue, there are no differences here in terms of ObamaCare, and the economy, jobs. We're all on same page. Where we get into disagreements is over some tactical moves that we make where some Washington groups will stir up the Tea Party -- frankly, I think unfairly and unnecessarily -- and cause divisions just for the sake of raising money for their own organizations.

KELLY: Do you watch "House of Cards"?

BOEHNER: Never seen it, but every place I go, everybody asks me about it. I'm gonna have to watch it.


KELLY: You can't, because then people like me are gonna make you comment on whether it's true to life in any way. You get yourself in trouble.

BOEHNER: I can answer that part. No, it's not. People don't get killed.

KELLY: Let's hope for Kevin McCarthy's sake you're right.


BOEHNER: Knees don't get broken. It doesn't work that way.

KELLY: Maybe just figuratively. Mr. Speaker, great to see you.

BOEHNER: Thanks to you.

KELLY: Thanks for being here. I had to ask him. I watch it. Love it.

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