Rep. Issa: The Terry family will get their answers
House Oversight chairman on Holder contempt vote
- Duration 7:16
- Date Jun 26, 2012
House Oversight chairman on Holder contempt vote
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
The president's been put on notice by the chairman of the house oversight committee congressman Darrell ice has sent a letter yesterday to the White House questioning why President Obama.
Is claiming executive privilege over certain fast and furious documents now in it.
The chairman explains very clearly that by invoking this privilege the president is admitting to one of two things.
Now either somebody inside the White House was quote involved in managing operation fast and furious and the fallout from -- Or option to this power is being abused with the goal of quote further obstructing.
A congressional investigation.
And administration spokesman was quick to call the letter quote absurd.
And late breaking news tonight we are learning that last minute efforts by the White House to prevent the vote failed reports say that.
The administration tried to present thirty pages of a document.
On a last ditch effort to hold off this vote but you to elaborate on the very serious accusations and this late breaking news is the man himself.
House government oversight committee chair Darrell I said congressman welcome back -- Thanks have me back -- and thanks for covering the important issue of fast and furious in the death of Brian Terry.
Well -- -- this this is a thing that's amazing to me and we had the parents.
Brian Terry on this program the other night.
And they want answers and they feel that the White House is obstructing the investigation how long have you been looking into this just to remind people.
Well it's about eighteen months and in that eighteen months it was ten months in which we were flat out lied to senator Grassley was like two and a letter and we were also given live testimony that was false.
And it took about ten months before they finally owned up.
To -- being exactly the opposite of what they said they said.
They never like guns walk when in fact fast and furious was about deliberately and knowingly let letting 2000.
Very powerful weapons cross the border with the the knowledge of ATF and the high ranking individuals in the Justice Department.
Congressman when you say flat out lied to wasn't Roger Clemens didn't -- in the last five years of his life -- -- -- acquitted but.
Wasn't the issue will be whether he lied to congress is and -- call perjury.
Exactly my committee referred Roger Clemens a bipartisan referral because.
They believe that he had given false testimony about his use of steroids in baseball.
Well in fact it took dozens or hundreds of lawyers inside the Justice Department.
Who knew then at various times -- guns had walked not coming forward and telling the truth.
In order to have ten months of senator Grassley and the American people all relying on a letter that simply was false.
Right so then if if that happened Roger Clemens we don't have a two tiered justice system that we congressman with the same recommendation.
Then go for the people in the White House that light to you in terms of it being -- news sent forth for investigation by prosecutors.
-- very clearly -- Justice Department was willing to prosecute not once but twice Roger Clemens.
Well in fact there are unwilling to hold themselves to a standard of accountability.
Ultimately in the contempt vote scheduled for Thursday is very narrow.
It's simply about the period of the cover up the ten months in which we were given false testimony.
But it it also is part of getting to the truth.
If we can figure out the people who lied to get that false letter to us and then lied to keep it covered up.
We may very well find that those are the same people who all who ultimately responsible for fast and furious that need to be held accountable.
Didn't -- attorney general himself why do you congressman.
I mean -- gay he -- he gave you false information.
He said he didn't know about it until a few weeks before he testified in May -- 2011 in fact you found out that he knew about it many many months earlier.
We did find out he knew about it earlier than his original testimony would imply that a lot correct it he's corrected their -- record and said that he was mistaken.
We try not to catch people -- lies when is in fact a mistake.
But what we really -- to do would you wanna be able to verify testimony given for example the former ATF director.
Gave us two days of sworn testimony.
In which he talked about some documents some emails that he sent to various people those are among the documents that we've asked for that we can't find any.
Form of executive privilege Jon and yet they've not only not been offered to us.
But even today wouldn't representatives of mine office in the speaker's office went to the White House and try to make a last ditch ditch deal.
Those were not a records they were willing to offer to us.
But congressman it seems to me and maybe I'm reading into this that you know that the president's precipitated here constitutional.
Crisis in many ways.
By invoking executive privilege he's gonna have to explain on every one of these documents why he wants to invoke executive privilege that I -- probably get him past the election.
It it seems to me that there had to be some political calculation here either what is in that.
That those documents are so embarrassing so damaging.
But they didn't want to release it -- that that they would rather go through this.
Even though to -- one is a poll out today the American people said that the president was not right to assert executive privilege here.
Ultimately this bears a striking -- resemblance to something that happened when I was -- very young man and you were probably a young boy.
And that was when Nixon push the emerging discussion and discovery of the plumbers activity -- Watergate pushed it past the election.
Ultimately won that election overwhelmingly.
And then the facts eventually came out.
In this case I don't believe the fallout is directly the president.
But he is pushing on behalf of key people who worked for him this issue probably past the election.
Hoping that his popularity will prevent us from getting to the truth.
That's not something that I think is in the best interest of the constitution and ultimately the speaker has been very clear.
Very accommodating but very clear that we have to get to the truth.
Let me ask you this -- the president denied any knowledge of this and said he did not approve operation fast and furious he said his attorney general did not.
-- proof operation.
Fast and furious.
If it turns out in fact they did.
What does that mean.
Well if they've.
Lied to the congress they'll be held accountable Love -- out through our process and by the voters.
I think the important thing is that the American people don't want to have a executive privilege that's so broad.
That congress can't get into things like slender or fast and furious -- the GSA scandal simply because everything seems to include a deliberative process.
So -- a certain extent when speaker Boehner the speaker of the house says we have to make sure we get to a balance that's constitutionally.
He's fighting for sort of the freedom and transparency the groups on the left and the right.
Are always encouraging me to make sure we do protect that balance that between the the the various parts of our government because of our branch doesn't -- asserted itself ultimately were no longer of the republic our founders wanted us to.
It seems that the president a lot of ways is not respecting.
Checks and balances.
And the idea that we have coequal branches of government.
Congressman will look continue to follow this and I hope the birth of the -- family gets the answers they deserve and appreciate you being with us.
Okay we will make sure that -- family gets what their answers.