Justice Department feels 'Fast and Furious' squeeze

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 9, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: House Republicans are fed up with Attorney General Eric Holder. They say the attorney general is stonewalling over Operation Fast and Furious and getting away with it!


REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: No one has been punched. There hasn't been a demotion! There hasn't been a firing! There hasn't been a sanction! There hasn't been a frowny face on a performance evaluation! There's been nothing!


VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman Trey Gowdy says Attorney General Holder and DoJ officials should be forced to pay out of their own pockets.

Congressman Gowdy joins us. Good evening, sir.

GOWDY: Good evening, Greta. How are you?

VAN SUSTEREN: Very well. Now, I know you're extremely serious about this Fast and Furious investigation. I know that you're very unhappy that the documents requested have not been turned over for Congress. And I know that there is the beginning steps of looking for a contempt of Congress charge against the attorney general. This is something different. Tell me your idea.

GOWDY: Well, the idea -- Jason Chaffetz had the same idea. We both did it. I did it yesterday. He did it today. You know, Greta, we're limited in our ability to get the attorney general's attention. And one way you can get it is to start cutting appropriations.

I cut appropriations from senior executive officials within DoJ. And then Jason Chaffetz today cut more money from the appropriations bill. I don't know what else we can do. I have appealed to him on the basis of respect for the rule of law. I have appealed to him to treat this as a criminal justice matter and not a political matter.

It's been over a year and we can't get one twelfth of the documents that the inspector general has! So when I go home and I'm asked or when I go on your show and I'm asked legitimate, what's going on with Fast and Furious, I don't have any idea because the Department of Justice, which I hold in a much higher position or in higher stead than any other cabinet official -- I have higher expectations for him! And he won't comply with the subpoena!

Greta, what would happen if you didn't show up for jury duty? If you were summoned for jury duty and you didn't show up, what would happen? You'd be in jail! So how can the attorney general act any differently than an average citizen? That's my point. And if I can't get his attention through a committee hearing, then we'll get it with money.

VAN SUSTEREN: I should probably add for the viewers who don't remember, you are a former assistant United States attorney, so the whole idea about the Justice Department probably is a little bit more near and dear to your heart than somebody who has not been deeply involved in criminal justice. Maybe not, but at least that's my suspicion.

GOWDY: Well, you know what, though, Greta? It's also harder for me, to be quite frank with you. The United States attorney in South Carolina was a Barack Obama appointee. Politically, he is to the left of Mao Zedong. He asked me to do his background check because he has enough confidence in me as a fellow prosecutor to put politics aside and do the right thing. And he is doing a wonderful job in South Carolina.

So this is not about politics to me. The reason I like the criminal justice system is there aren't Republican or Democrat victims or police officers or prosecutors. It's about respect for the rule of law!

I don't know why the attorney general doesn't just give us the documents! They may exonerate his department! How do I know? He must know something!

You know, you were an attorney, Greta. When one party doesn't turn over documents, there's a presumption that those documents must not have been very favorable for you. That's the only thing I'm left to conclude is there's something in these documents he doesn't want us to get, and he's willing to cut his employees' salaries to keep us from getting it!

VAN SUSTEREN: I'll tell you this, Congressman. I actually do not believe he doesn't know who authorized Fast and Furious, and that's, like, sort of the one simple question that I do not understand can't be put to him and you get an answer.

I don't know what the answer is, but you know, there's a dead border agent murdered, and it seems to me that we need to know -- we need to know who authorized this and how high up did people know about it, so that those people who exercised such bad judgment -- even the attorney general himself admits that this was very bad judgment -- that if they are in a position of power now, we move them to another job or someplace else so they don't show their -- they don't exhibit the bad judgment again for future harm.

So I don't understand why you don't just -- why they don't just answer. Forget the documents, but just tell you, for starters.

GOWDY: I don't, either. And -- and that's why I mentioned today -- and I think you showed the clip -- there have been no sanctions whatsoever. There have been no demotions, no transfers. No one's lost their job.

A border patrol agent's lost his life. And keep in mind, Greta, there are innocent Mexican citizens who have died and frankly will continue to die. No sanction, no punishment, no penalty. We're better than that! I mean, the Department of Justice is better than that!

And we can say this is about race or about politics. It is not to me. It is about respect for the rule of law and a blindfolded woman holding a set of scales! And that's all it's about to me!

VAN SUSTEREN: I also think that, you know what? We really do owe it to the family...

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... of this murdered border agent. You know, a little decency. I mean, we pay -- you know, the -- we should at least get the facts to them. We owe it to them at a -- you know, at a minimum. So this foot dragging, I'm -- you know, it's got to stop, I agree with you.

GOWDY: Well, thank you for bringing light to it. You have a much bigger megaphone than a little former prosecutor from South Carolina.

VAN SUSTEREN: You're doing a pretty good job there, Congressman! You're doing a good job on putting a spotlight on it. Thank you, sir.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.