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Representatives Issa & Cummings on Fast And Furious

By Fox News Sunday, Fox News Sunday - June 24, 2012

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Special Guests: Rep. Darrell Issa, R "“ CA, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D "“ MD, T. Boone Pickens, Chairman and CEO of BP Capital

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," June 24, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.

A constitutional standoff pits House Republicans against the president.

(MUSIC)

WALLACE: The full House is set to vote this week whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, while the president asserts executive privilege, refusing to turn over documents.

We'll talk to the congressman leading the "Fast and Furious" probe, Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee. As well as Elijah Cummings, the panel's top Democrat.

Then, with the U.S. spending trillions to buy foreign oil, what can be done to boost domestic production? We'll ask legendary businessman T. Boone Pickens, who has a dramatic new plan.

And all of Washington is wondering what the Supreme Court will do this week about Obamacare.

We'll ask our Sunday panel to game out what it will mean for your health care and the November election?

All right now on "Fox News Sunday".

(MUSIC)

WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.

The showdown over the botched gun-trafficking operation known as "Fast and Furious" escalated dramatically this week, with the president asserting executive privilege over key documents, and the House committee voting Attorney General Holder is in contempt of Congress.

Joining us now to discuss the confrontation are Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee. And from San Antonio, the panel's top Democrat, Elijah Cummings.

Assuming there is no deal with the administration over the documents you're seeking, Congressman Issa, will the House vote Attorney General Holder in contempt this week?

REP. DARRELL ISSA, R - CA: Yes, I believe they will, both Republicans and Democrats will vote that.

WALLACE: You are saying it's going to be bipartisan.

ISSA: I believe it will be bipartisan. You'll 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.

WALLACE: But no doubt in your mind that the House will vote Holder in contempt?

ISSA: Well, Chris, it's regrettable we are here. And we certainly would not like to be here. And if the president and Attorney General Holder would simply start producing the documents they know they could produce to us that are not by any means are 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.

WALLACE: And failing that kind of an agreement, then what?

ISSA: Well, it's the speaker's decision but he's announced that we will vote this week if there isn't a negotiated settlement.

WALLACE: Now, give us an example of the kind of document that's all that important, that you say is going to really get to the bottom of this case and clearly is not a matter of executive privilege?

ISSA: Well, a good example is, shortly after February 4th, after Congress and Senator Grassley specifically got a letter which was untrue, clearly untrue, they said they don't let guns walk, the ATF director, Kenneth Melson, sent an e-mail and he had said to us in sworn testimony that, in fact, he had concerns and we want to see that e-mail, because that's an example where he was saying, if we believe his sworn testimony, that guns walked. And he said it shortly after February 4th and July 4th. When he told us that, we began asking for that document.

WALLACE: This is an e-mail between him and who?

ISSA: His handlers at justice. You know, the ATF director effectively reports to the deputy attorney general. This e-mail would have circulated to them. We'd like to know not just where he sent it, but who talked about it, because that's the point in which shortly after February 4th, they should have known that the February 4th letter was untrue.

WALLACE: Congressman Cummings, we're going to get to this whole question of Melson, because it is important, in a little bit. But let me just ask you, 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 ever voted the attorney general, the chief law enforcement officer of the land in contempt, what do you think of this kind of action?

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, D - MD: First of all, I think it's extremely unfortunate and I absolutely don't think that we needed to be at this place.

You know, over a year ago, Chairman Issa accused Holder of authorizing these tactics and nothing accounted be further from the truth from the evidence we have already gotten. There is no evidence that he knew about it, no evidence that he authorized or condoned it.

And, you know, I'm really kind of saddened that at this point in the history of the Congress, that we would be finding this attorney general in contempt. And, you know, Chris, I think that I am calling on Speaker Boehner to come forth and show strong leadership -- and I know he will -- and sit down with the attorney general to resolve this matter.The attorney general has made it clear that he is willing to work with this Congress. He's already turned over 7,600 documents going through millions of e-mails, and has even given up what's called internal deliberative documents. These are the types of documents that attorney generals over and over, and year after year, have held close to them and themselves in their offices. But he has done that.

And so, I think he's -- all he's asked for is a good faith promise that we would bring these contempt proceedings to some kind of conclusions and he's offering to sit down with House leadership to work it out. And I hope we do. I really do.

WALLACE: All right. Let me get to you, Congressman Issa. Let's assume in fact that the House votes this week to hold Holder in contempt. Then what?

Because you can refer it to the U.S. attorney who works for Holder and in all likelihood will say he's not going to prosecute his boss. You can file a lawsuit in federal court, which will takes years, that you can impeach him. You can arrest him or try to arrest him and have a standoff between the sergeant in arms and his security people or do you just let it sit there.

ISSA: Chris, I'm going to continue my investigation. I left a message with Brian Terry's mother, Josie, last night.

WALLACE: Brian Terry, of course, is the border patrol agent who was killed in December of 2010. And two of the weapons from "Fast and Fast" were found at the site of his murder. Go ahead, sir.

ISSA: I told her that, in fact, we're going to continue regardless of what the vote is this week. We have an obligation to get to the truth about "Fast and Furious" and about those responsible, specifically related to both his death and cover up.

But having said that, mine is not automatically to look at post- contempt. Mine is to continue investigating and doing my job, along with Mr. Cummings, of a host of other abuses and failures, GSA and other scandals, because we need corrective action.

I would take exemption with my colleague in that I did not say that Eric Holder always knew. I knew that Lanny Breuer knew well before the retraction because the Lanny Breuer --

WALLACE: The head of the criminal division.

ISSA: Right. Because Lanny Breuer said that to me, that he thought that this was a good idea but badly executed. Having said that, we in fact are simply trying to get to the truth when we were told a lie and that's what contempt is about. It's about the cover up.  Print  Email  Share    Recommend Tweet

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After a contentious Congressional hearing, the House Oversight Committee votes to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. We’ll hear from Congressman Darrell Issa, who led the effort, and the committee's ranking Democrat, Congressman Elijah Cummings.  Then, we’ll take a look at domestic energy production and how the issue will play in the 2012 presidential election with T. Boone Pickens.

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