House heads towards contempt vote for Holder
Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Adam Schiff weigh in
- Duration 5:33
- Date Jun 24, 2012
Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Adam Schiff weigh in
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Republicans are fighting back against jabs from the White House following the house oversight committee's vote to send contempt charges against attorney -- general -- -- To the full house and that bill could come this week.
Joining us now for fair amounts to -- Republican congressman Jason take it and democratic congressman and former prosecutor in the US attorney's office in Los Angeles Adam Schiff.
Gentlemen welcome to you both thank you good to be here thank you.
Congress -- tickets I'll start with you I Jay Carney the White House spokesman -- said that this is a an election year fishing expedition it's politically driven by Republicans.
Got nothing is further from the truth.
Brian Terry was killed -- -- Border Patrol agent in December of 2010.
This should have been disposed -- took care of very early in 2011 unfortunately the Department of Justice lied to congress when they sent us a letter of February 4 and that's why this continues to go on and why the Department of Justice in the White House need to come clean.
And abide by it -- improperly issued subpoena.
Put out in October and provide the documents necessary so we can solve this problem and make sure it never ever happens again.
And congressman -- of course the use of executive privilege is being done by many presents dozens of times Republicans and Democrats alike.
But -- -- the White House considered how tough this would play out politically and in the PR sense that fact that.
-- people assume that when the White House and does its eleventh -- executive privilege claim that -- something to hide.
Well I'm sure they recognized very early on where this investigation was headed -- -- I think what started out as a bona -- investigation very quickly turned political.
And -- -- -- recognized after it gave it 9000 documents that the attorney general testified nine times and gave really impressed that level of discovery.
That the committee wasn't gonna take yes for an answer that I was gonna push for contempt vote and go through this political exercise an election year.
Which a very disturbing because I think think the car courses power contempt.
Ought to be reserved for very very stringent circumstances otherwise it becomes merely another partisan tool.
And we already have too many partisan tools that are used these days and -- something ought to be reserved.
-- very legitimate disputes between the branches of government and I think here.
Where the claim executive privilege is properly laid against internal department communications.
All which by the way took place well after -- -- was shut down.
The White House really has to stand its ground and -- I think what we're seeing at the end of the day.
Is this will be litigated in court and at the end of litigation -- the Justice Department will turn over the very same documents it's offering in turn over today.
-- congress and tickets selling like her parents that -- -- of the documents that you've gotten so far good enough to answer this penis.
That -- it well too with all due respect my colleague they haven't offered to -- to give us -- documents.
The reason contempt is going to parties 'cause they haven't turned over the documents.
So to turn over the documents of all these conditions that we drop everything do not think it's just totally unacceptable.
If the documents are there and they shed light on this -- and we deserve as the congress to be able to see that's we can help solve this problem.
And if they -- clear of the attorney general as he says them.
Please sooner rather later given to us but the problem is they haven't given us the documents.
We we deserved to see all of the documents and it depends what percentage of justice to you want.
He says 9000 documents but the attorney general just two and a half weeks ago testified before us in the Judiciary Committee.
There are 140000.
Documents pertaining to fast and -- why should we be able to see all of those documents.
And congress and shift I wanna ask you let in -- -- -- the top Democrat on the house oversight committee Elijah Cummings.
Promise to Terry family some months back that no stone would be left unturned that he would find answers and everybody would be held accountable regardless of where that investigation led.
Are you confident and you could still assure the Terry Finley they're going to get the answers they're after.
Yes I -- because attorney general really the first -- he did after shutting down fast and furious.
Was asked for an inspector general investigation which is ongoing and will produce I think the answers that the Terry family wants and has a right to have.
And less confident frankly that the committee the congressional committee is gonna produce anything valuable.
Because the most important witnesses the committee showed no interest in calling such as the head of ATF.
Out in Arizona who was the person in a position to know how this got started what the georgians were in the Bush Administration what was done under the Obama administration.
But the committee showed very little interest in actually the facts that are most importantly -- Terry family unfortunately what the committee's most interest and it in this having a fight with the attorney general.
My colleagues as well why don't they just turn over the documents.
Well the fact -- they have turned over thousands and thousands of documents I guess my -- let's take the position that there is never a legitimate claim of executive privilege.
But plainly presence of both parties have made the claim executive privilege sometimes I think more appropriately the others.
But where you're talking about internal deliberative communications.
After the investigation has been shut down I think the claim is very promptly laid.
-- reason the reason why you know the attorney -- has gone even beyond that and I hope that this can be resolved before the vote next week.
Is the attorney general wants to avoid this constitutional conflict and believe -- provide some of the documents that are covered by the privilege.
If the other side will meet halfway but unfortunately I think the other side really wants the fight more than any.
Sales aren't we've got to leave it there congressman Schiff congressman take it's we thank you both and we will be looking forward as you are -- to see how this plays out and whether this -- comes to a house.
Floor vote this week thank you both thank you.