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And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
The showdown over the box gun trafficking operation known as fast and furious escalated dramatically this -- What the president asserting executive privilege over key documents and a house committee voting attorney general holder is in contempt of congress.
Joining us now to discuss the confrontation -- -- -- said the Republican chairman of the house oversight committee.
And from San Antonio the panel's top Democrat Elijah Cummings.
Assuming there's no deal with the administration over the documents you're seeking congressman ice will the house vote attorney general.
Holder in contempt this week yes I believe they will both Republicans and Democrats will vote that.
You're saying it's going to be bipartisan I believe and -- bipartisan and you never know how many but there are a number of Democrats.
31 who wrote to the administration.
Asking them to be forthcoming many of them will stay with us now that the administration has not been but no doubt in your mind.
The house will vote holder in content well.
Chris it -- it's regrettable were here and we certainly would like to not be here and if the president.
An attorney general holder would simply start producing the documents they know they could produce to us that are not by any means going to be covered by executive privilege.
This could be delayed or even eliminated.
But we have to see the documents first we can't have a promise that we're going to be satisfied and dismiss this contempt and failing.
That kind of an agreement.
-- -- -- a speaker's decision but he's announced that we will vote this week if there isn't a negotiated settlement.
Now give us an example.
The kind of document that's all not important that that you say is going to really get to the bottom of this case and it clearly is not a matter of executive prep.
Well good example is shortly after February 4 after congress.
And sent the senator Grassley specifically got a letter which was untrue.
Clearly untrue this that they don't like guns walk.
The ATF director Kenneth Nelson sent a email in which he -- has said to us -- -- -- testimony that in fact.
He had concerns and we want to see that email because that's an example where.
He was saying.
If we believe his sworn testimony that guns walked he said it shortly after February 4 and on July 4 when he told us that we began.
Asking for that document.
This is -- an email between him and -- and his handlers and justice.
It you know the ATF director effectively reports to the deputy attorney general.
This email would have circulated to them we we'd like to know not just where does he send it but who who talked about it because that's a point at which shortly after February 4.
They should have known that that February 4 letter was untrue.
That's it congressman Cummings we're gonna get to this whole question of Nelson because it is important and and a little bit but let me just ask you as.
In this overall question do you believe that the house is going to vote failing an agreement is going to vote holder in contempt and this would be the first time.
First time in history.
That either house has ever voted the attorney general the chief law enforcement officer of the land in contempt what do you think of this kind of action.
First of all I think it's extremely unfortunate.
And I absolutely don't think that we needed to be and displace.
You know over a year ago.
Chairman -- said.
-- holder of authorizing.
These are tactics.
And nothing could be further from the truth from ever so we've already gotten it.
There's no evidence that there he knew about it no evidence that he authorized or condone that.
And you know I'm I'm I'm really kind of saddened stated this point in the history of -- congress.
That we would be finding in this attorney general in contempt.
And you know Chris I think that -- I'm calling going house speaker Boehner.
To come forth and so strong leadership that I know we will.
And sit down with the attorney general.
To resolve this -- -- an attorney general has made it clear.
That he is willing to work with this congress.
He's already turned over 7600.
Documents gone through millions of your emails.
And and as you -- even given up.
What's call internal deliberative documents.
These types of documents that.
The attorney -- over and over years after you have the year.
Have -- close -- them but themselves in the offices.
But he has done that and so.
I think he's made all these asked for is a good faith.
That we would bring in these contempt proceedings to some kind of conclusion and he's offering to sit down with house leadership and work it out and I hope we do that I really -- All right let me let me get get to you congressman ice -- let's assume.
That in fact the house votes this week to hold holder in contempt.
Then -- because you could refer to the US attorney.
Who works for holder and -- all likelihood will say he's not going to prosecutors -- you can file a lawsuit in federal court which will take years.
Then you can impeach him you can arrest them or try to arrest them and have a standoff between the sergeant at arms and his security people -- just let it sit there.
Chris I'm gonna continue my investigation.
I left message with Brian Terry's mother Josie last night.
The Kelly -- Brian Terry -- the Border Patrol agent.
Who was killed in December of 2010.
Of the weapons from fast and furious were found at the site of his murder got cancer I told her that in fact we're gonna continue regardless to what the vote is this week.
We have an obligation to get to the truth about fast -- and about those responsible specifically.
Related to both his death and the cover up.
But having said that.
Mine is not automatically to look at post content.
Mine is to continue investigating and doing my job along with mr.
Of a host of other abuses and and failures GSA and other scandals because we need to get corrective action I would take exception with Mike my colleague.
I did not say that Eric Holder always knew.
I know that Lanny brewer knew.
Well before the retraction because -- the head of the criminal that that right because Leonard brewers said that to me that he thought that this was a a good idea -- badly executed having said that we in fact.
Are simply trying to get to the truth when we were told -- lie and that's what this could have contempt is about it's about the cover up.
I'm okay and we're gonna get back to that -- -- -- congressman Cummings for that it if I'm I and you can Nancy that you Canadian respond to him as well if you want it in Iran are certainly I've -- I've I've -- zero OPEC cut fast and furious as as covers and -- some points out.
He -- not just another Washington scandal someone was killed here Brian Terry a Border Patrol agent was some of the guns used here and this week.
Here is what Terry's parents -- decide.
There's something that they don't want to -- -- -- and had.
That there aren't some.
Of the underlying and -- A year -- congressman Cummings you told.
The fact that carries the parents this.
We will not rest.
Until every single person responsible for all of -- no matter where they are.
What to justice.
Congressman Cummings can you honestly say that you've kept that promise.
I have kept -- promise.
And I will keep that promise you gotta understand -- a year guard had a nephew who was our slaughtered.
And I've sat with a gun.
I see it in my district and I see in my city.
I see what guns can do and I am determined to do -- to better understand some interest.
This contempt proceeding has nothing to do.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Some documents.
Where there is an effort to number one figure out how this.
False document was submitted.
-- and that could go senator Grassley and keep in mind.
That -- was false information.
That was sent to the legislative department.
Of the Department of Justice from provokes them in Phoenix -- the ATF these are the same people right -- many of them.
-- work during one operations.
-- fast and furious since 2006.
And they and I was a well operating out of the Bush Administration they -- these sports racquet was up there and mr.
Eisen knows that he knows that -- and again and and let me finish.
And thirteen hundred pages.
Deliberative internal -- -- indictments.
They've already been presented to us by mr.
-- for you know those and those we've been we've gotten those and all of the attorney general has asked for.
And I said in -- -- and he simply with.
-- and he simply said -- I'm willing to turn over and documents but just give me some.
You know assurances that you -- making good faith effort for us to bring a contempt -- -- -- -- -- -- -- and -- -- the -- is not -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- In February.
Of 2000 a -- Clinton.
A little over a year ago the Justice Department sent a letter to senator Grassley -- that there have been no gun walking operation where they have let the guns go over the border.
In December of 2011 they had to send another letter to congress sign.
That wasn't true let's -- in the latter so that's why February 2011 is such a big day congressman I say it.
You talk about finding the truth about Brian Terry -- You have refused to hold.
Public hearing bid the people at Phoenix ATF who actually ran the operation you've refused to hold a public hearing.
Would the former head of ATF Ken -- this person who's.
Who's email your so when there's a -- refused to hold a public hearing wedeman he has testified that he never told the higher ups.
At Justice Department about.
Fast and furious this case -- if -- testified he didn't tell them now he says well we'll get to dot the second.
And you also in the case of of these -- you were seeking documents after February of last year.
Which may be politically embarrassing may show that they were scrambling to come up what the next explanation for their -- denial.
But how does that tell you what happened two months earlier to Brian -- What's important is that.
This period February 4 to December.
First -- Kenneth Nelson told us in July 4.
That he had sent shortly after February 4 he -- sent an email we wanna copy of that we'd like to have Kenneth Nelson.
And by the way -- gentleman named Cunningham who's threatened to take the fifth and a number of other these individuals before us.
But before you bring them before us we need to see the documents.
That were produced perhaps as a and mr.
Ron Cummings says it very well perhaps these people were lying to their bosses.
But we're not going to bring them in unless we have the kinds of questions we need to -- I want every one of those people here I expected to have a panel.
But part of what you do would you get tell you how far have refused to have Kenneth Nelson and not at all we have not refused.
We want -- he testified that's where you can he testified for two days before in a public hearing no.
If -- in a private in a private gathering with Republicans and Democrats under oath.
Our our lawyers were asking those questions from that we asked for documents our intention is to have him back on -- panel along all right Dennis -- -- -- hate to -- but we are gonna we have limited time.
Congressman Cummings does that satisfy you.
No I I I have really I have asked the chairman to bring.
Director mouse and be forests.
He has refused to we've asked for witnesses to come before public hearing.
He's refused to -- -- to do that all I'm saying is that -- chairman.
In many heads -- willing partner and we are really.
-- one to be about the business of keeping our promise to -- to deter a family I want to do that that is so very very important but I can tell you.
Met again I think and I've said it before Chris.
I think with regard to getting these documents -- one on one foot line number of a feel and I and I have absolutely no doubt bit of speaker Boehner.
I showed the strong leadership did I know he will we can sit down work this -- out with the attorney general.
And move -- All right gentlemen I I hate to interrupt but we have limited time and I want to ask you one more question the president of course asserted executive privilege this week.
And congressman -- here is what house democratic leader policy.
Had to say after that about the fast and furious investigation.
They're going after Eric Holder.
Because he is supporting measures to overturn -- voter suppression initiatives.
In the states.
This is no accident there's no conflict coincidence thinking he -- on the part of Republicans.
But that congressman Cummings congress started the investigation -- fast and furious in January of 2011 just one month.
After Brian Terry was killed and almost a year before holder got into these voter suppression cases question.
What does Nancy Pelosi talking about.
I think that -- are a number of people.
Five -- look -- brought.
That that's attorney general holder and they have themselves asked why is he.
The punching -- for so many Republicans why is he.
The subject of always conspiracy theories -- you know wife Chris the fact is is that I'm a lawyer.
I'm used to be getting to the bottom of things and resolving them and moving forward.
And again no matter what other people may think.
I think that we have a -- duty a duty to the American public a duty to the congress of the United States in this political moment.
To get the documents I know we can get it was just a matter of sitting down and -- and older would he get those documents and get this matter resolved OK I guess a question a moment -- -- I I I'm I'm sorry -- because I've read are almost out of time I do wanna ask congressman -- one final question after the president invoked.
Executive privilege house speaker.
Boehner said that that changes everything let's watch.
The decision to invoked executive privilege is an admission.
And the White House officials were involved in decisions that misled the congress inept covered up the truth.
Question do you have any evidence that White House officials were involved in these decisions that they knowingly misled congress and are involved in a -- -- No we don't and what we're seeking -- documents we know to exist.
February 4 of December that are in fact about Brian Terry's murder who knew and why why people were lying about it.
And get to the truth that's all we want.
Eric Holder terror ends up being the custodian of the documents.
We would go to the deputy attorney general just as easily if he would give us documents that's all we're looking for is the documents which are internal to -- false statement and not.
Part of deliberate process.
You know in the next -- just -- declared we gotta get out.
No evidence at this point that the White House was involved in -- conference.
And I hope that they don't get involved I hope this stays in justice and I hope that justice cooperates because ultimately justice lied to the American people on February 4 and they didn't make it right for ten months and we're gonna have to leave it there congressman Cummings congressman -- -- thank you both so much.
We'll follow what happens and -- house this wake.
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