Rove: IRS targeting of my Crossroads GPS group was no coincidence

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 6, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: IRS targeting scandal putting a bullseye on Crossroads GPS. Karl Rove goes ON THE RECORD as House Republicans release the new evidence.


REP. DARRELL ISSA, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: June 2011, you requested that Holly Pause (ph) obtain a copy of the tax-exempt application filed by Crossroads GPS so that your senior technical advisor, Judy Kendall, could review it and summarize the issues for you. Ms. Lerner, why did you want to personally order that they pull Crossroads GPS, Karl Rove's organization's application?

LOIS LERNER, FORMER IRS OFFICIAL: On the advice of my counsel, I respectfully exercise my Fifth Amendment right and decline to answer that question.


VAN SUSTEREN: And Karl Rove joins us. Nice to see you, Karl.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Karl, here is the email, in which Crossroads Grassroots is mentioned, and which Chairman Issa just mentioned, dated June 1st, 2011. Three mentions of Lois Lerner in it. What do you think?

ROVE: Well, it shows that Crossroads GPS, like a number of other conservative 501(c)4s, was undergoing special scrutiny by Lois Lerner. As we know, a handful of liberal groups were given such scrutiny. Hundreds of conservative groups were given that scrutiny. It showed the imbalance, that they were targeting conservative groups, right-of-center groups. And the document in question, the application was later leaked to the press. Not leaked, it was given to the press by the IRS, which is in violation of law. Those are confidential documents, until and unless the organization is granted an application. And during the process of which it was being considered, they released it to the press. And nothing has ever happened. I'm not even aware that anybody from the government has talked to Crossroads GPS about the release. The deliberate release of a confidential document and the violation of the law that entailed by someone inside the IRS.

VAN SUSTEREN: What I think is the most stunning about yesterday's hearings, now that's a June 2011 email their talking about with crossroads. If you back up, yesterday was for the first time is when I -- my antenna went up. Of course, maybe others have said it before, but that this all dates back to an effort by the Obama administration to reverse Citizens United. The Supreme Court decision that came out in early January that they did not like, and which -- with the fascinating thing about that is that in January of 2010, is that after that, you have a chain of emails, including this one from Lois Lerner February 1st, 2011 when she says refers to the Tea Party as dangerous -- she says tea party matter very dangerous. Then she has got another -- there is another email dated October 19th, 2010, and it says everyone is up in arms about the decision. I don't know who the everyone is. Apparently, it's not the Supreme Court, but it's everyone. And you have the fact that the president in the state of the union in January of 2010 says that he obviously doesn't like the -- like the decision Citizens United. It looks like all the -- you know, the lawyers in the IRS, because one of the lawyers -- one of the women here, Judith Kendall is a lawyer. It almost seems like that inside the IRS, this an incredible effort to target the tea party groups and to get around Citizens United.

ROVE: Yeah. Well, let me add one more piece to your puzzle. This email from Lois Lerner saying get me the document occurs at roughly the same time that Crossroads GPS is running several tens of millions of dollars of television advertising opposing President Obama's call for a clean debt ceiling and telling -- saying to the American people if you don't think he ought to have a blank check, call your representative and call your senator, and tell them to cut spending as part of the deal. So, she is trying to find out more about Crossroads GPS, at a time when Crossroads GPS is running advertising, encouraging Americans on a public policy issue as it's legally entitled to do to call their representative or their senator to oppose the president on the debt ceiling increase. So, you know, it's -- maybe it's a coincidence but I don't think so.

VAN SUSTEREN: It can't be. It cant be.

ROVE: I don't think so. I think it is because somebody, either Lois Lerner or the general counsel of the IRS or somebody at the White House saying or somebody at the treasury saying the IRS better get on Crossroads GPS. These people are killing us with these ads opposing President Obama's policies.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Karl, I'm beyond -- I thought maybe perhaps a coincidence. But yesterday in looking at these emails, it just can't be a coincidence obviously, she even reference to Cincinnati. I mean, it does look like a covert behind the scenes dirty effort to reverse a decision.

ROVE: Right. Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Someone may think it's a lousy decision, maybe it should be reversed -- maybe some legislation, whatever. But this is done by the IRS at a covert fashion behind the scenes, targeting people.

ROVE: Yeah. And, look this liberal groups have been using 501(c)(4) to be involved in public advocacy and politics for decades, and it never mattered. It never mattered to the liberals in Washington until we got to a point where conservatives woke up and said let's duplicate what the left has been doing and use 501(c)(4) as they are allowed to do to do a lot of public advocacies on the issues and to do some politics, some minority of their activity on politics. It was only one conservatives began to do what liberals have been doing successfully for decades, then sudden, they all got spun up. We know how spun up they got. They got spun up by looking at conservative groups, center right, you know, huge numbers of those groups were held up and closely examined while literally less than a dozen liberal groups were subjected to the same kind of lengthy scrutiny.

We know this was deliberate. We know that it was in violation with the law. We know they took some unnamed persons took illegal actions like releasing the Crossroads GPS application when it was supposed to be held as a confidential private document at that point. And we just don't know who is responsible for it. And we don't know how far it goes, who is behind it. We have a sense Lois Lerner is in the middle of this, both from the email and from the way that she has conducted herself in all of this. You know, we know that something stinks at the IRS and the administration isn't interested, the president started out sort of ignoring it then when it got -- when public attention got revved up about it, he said he was upset by this as well and thought it was inappropriate behavior. Now, they are just down playing it, saying there is nothing there. People look (ph) like there's nothing there, their dropping this thing here.

VAN SUSTEREN: You're dropping out something, is that after the president thought it was important, he then called it "phony," repetitively to friendly crowds.

ROVE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: And he also, on Super Bowl Sunday said there wasn't a smidgen of corruption. Now, we see these emails. Now, you mentioned the fact that they looked at some liberal groups, a few handful of liberal groups. This email from Lois Lerner dated February 1st, 2011 says underline in bold tea party matter very dangerous. So, it doesn't look like that she is particularly interested. It doesn't say and liberal groups.


VAN SUSTEREN: So does seem to be Tea Party groups.

ROVE: No. Look, look, you would expect when -- when several tens of thousands of applications flow through for these groups each year, you would expect that there would be a handful of one that they want to examine a little bit further. What is clearly indefensible is that there are hundreds of center right groups and literally less than a dozen liberal groups. Somebody was targeting tea party groups. We know that for certain. We know that they were targeting. That she was targeting Crossroads GPS, the center right group. Let's not kid ourselves. This was a deliberate effort to stifle the president's political opponent and political adversaries. The president himself set it in motion with a speech at Townsend State University in 2010 when he referred to these groups as enemies of democracy. How big -- you know, that's like blowing the whistle and saying go get them boys.

The President of the United States is ultimately responsible for the tone he set. But we need to find out who was carrying out these illegal acts and this committee hearing where Elijah Cummings throws a fit at the end of it. You know, the democrats know what this is all about. They know it's about a naked political grab, a misuse of the IRS for political purposes. And it's their party that's doing it. And so they are going to try to do everything they can to prosticate and distract.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, Chairman Issa told me last night that they have lots of -- they have subpoena for lots of emails to the IRS of Lois Lerner that has not been complied with. But looking at yesterday's hearing, that was the first day that I thought that a possible smoking gun, the motive, trying to get behind the Citizen's United and the whole fundraising exposed. Whether people believed it or did beforehand, these emails were pretty damning I thought.

But here is what I don't understand. Today, I got up and I asked to have the staff looked at the newspapers. The New York Times didn't mention this yesterday, this hearing. The Wall Street Journal, which is some corporate relative of Fox News Channel didn't mention it. USA Today didn't mention it. Now, the Washington Post had two articles, but one was about the reference to the Cummings and Chairman Issa spat that you just mentioned. And they did have on page A-15 an article, but maybe it's the lawyer in me, but in looking at these emails, I for the life of me can understand why everybody is not interested in getting to the bottom of this.

ROVE: Yeah. Look, a lot of the media is in bed with the president. A lot of the media have thought right from the beginning that this was not worthy of coverage. You know, I can't imagine it. I mean, I cannot imagine -- what if the roles were reversed? What if this was a republican president using the IRS to go after liberal groups. Don't you think the New York Times would be exercised about it? Don't you think that CBS, NBC, and ABC would be giving that lavished coverage? Of course so! But the fact that a liberal President with a -- use the IRS to go after his political opponents, apparently, you know, it just doesn't matter a lot. The good news is, as if we have lots of other ways to get communication out, information out, and this issue is not going to go away.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I am also critical speak Boehner for that green lighting some effort to hold the IRS in contempt to get those documents, now it doesn't take a year to get those emails back and they have been subpoenaed.

ROVE: No, it doesn't.

VAN SUSTEREN: So, you know what? As far as I'm concerned, is that nobody wants to get to the bottom of this except Chairman Issa and members of his committee who are -- you know, probing it. But they certainly raised suspicion yesterday.


Coming up. More with Karl Rove, he is really fired up about another new controversy. Here is a hint. It's about former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. You have to hear this.


VAN SUSTEREN: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the center of a stormy controversy. We asked Karl rove what he thinks.


VAN SUSTEREN: Rutgers faculty are protesting Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the commencement speaker, a big fuss because of her involvement in the last administration. What they say is that she played a prominent role in the administration's effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction. That's what the faculty resolution says.

ROVE: Yes. This shows how ignorant the faculty of Rutgers is. This old canard that the administration -- the Bush administration deliberately misled the American people about weapons of mass destruction has been the subject of special investigative committees, special commissions and no evidence have been found of that. This shows how politically motivated this is. And how ignorant the faculty senate of Rutgers is at using this as their pretense for saying we don't want a respected conservative international expert to -- Former Secretary of State, first African- American woman Secretary of State in our nation's history. We don't want her to be here simply because her politics don't match up with ours. Shame on the Rutgers faculty. Shame on them.

VAN SUSTEREN: I have one -- I always love a different twist on a lot of things. This one is my thinking is what in the world was the faculty doing that they didn't object beforehand? Now, all of a sudden it looks like they have something against the first amendment people with different views or different ideas.

ROVE: Sure they do. Hey, guess what? Guess what they do? They have a disagreement.

VAN SUSTEREN: I understand that.

ROVE: They do have a disagreement. Universities across this country.


VAN SUSTEREN: I understand that, Karl.

ROVE: Major universities are to have faculties that are dominated by the far left intolerant of free speech except if it's their free speech.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm just saying how stupid to let themselves to get into this issue and head it off at the pass before she was selected. Now, they have egg on their face. They look like they're stifling speech is not compatible with their own.

ROVE: Sure. Absolutely. Look, this is a routine at these sort of elite eastern schools. You know, they have group think. It's of the left. They can't tolerate dissent. They think everybody thinks and acts like them. Again, I repeat, the issue of statement which is factually inaccurate, it shows their ignorance. It shows they're political biased. It shows their cheap attempt to denigrate a respected leader of our country, the former secretary of state for their own narrow ideological left wing views. And shame on them again. Shame on the faculty at Rutgers.

VAN SUSTEREN: They also included that the one of their other objections enhanced interrogation techniques that says because of her role in the Iraq war and the Bush administration's policy of enhanced interrogation techniques just waterboarding.


ROVE: You know what? You know what? I suspect that they might be very happy inviting Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who voted for the Iraq war. I think they might be comfortable inviting the current Secretary of State John Kerry who voted for the Iraq war. I suspect they might be very comfortable inviting Nancy Pelosi who not only knew about the enhanced interrogation techniques but was briefed on them consistently as a member of the intelligence committee and of the democratic leadership in the house. I'm sure they would be very comfortable inviting her. Now, look, this is the left wing views of -- I hope of a minority of the Rutgers faculty working out their angst in a childish, and I repeat, fraudulent way. Shame on them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Karl, always nice to see you. Thank you, sir.

ROVE: Great to see you, Greta.