April 27th, 2012

Rep. Issa on Eric Holder possible contempt of Congress citation

Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Rep. Darrell Issa (CA–R) spoke with CNN chief national correspondent John King about the possible contempt of congress Attorney General Eric Holder may face in the future. A highlight from the interview is after the jump; please visit for a full transcript of the interview. This interview will air today on CNN’s John King, USA during the 6 p.m. ET hour.

Please credit all usage of the interview to CNN’s John King, USA

Highlight from Full Interview

JOHN KING, CNN:  The attorney general, Eric Holder, may soon face a contempt of Congress citation.  House Republicans now considering that dramatic move because they say the Justice Department is stonewalling their investigation of a program called “Fast and Furious.”

You may remember that program was supposed to trace weapons smuggling, but ended up helping Mexican drug cartels acquire guns from the United States, and one of those guns was found at the scene of a murdered U.S. Border Patrol agent.

The contempt citation is being prepared by Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.  And according to the “Los Angeles Times,” it reads in part, quote, “Those responsible for allowing ‘Fast and Furious’ to proceed, and those who are preventing the truth about the operation from coming out, must be held accountable for their actions.”

The committee chairman, Darrell Issa, joins me now from Capitol Hill.  Mr. Chairman, is this a bluff to get the Justice Department to give you more of what you want?  Or are you prepared to take this step?

REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIFORNIA:  Well, it can’t be a bluff.  Ultimately, many committees of Congress, including ours, are trying to get to the truth in a number of matters.  Some of them go all the way back to the Bush or Clinton administrations.  Some of them, like “Fast and Furious” were — occurred on this president’s watch.

In this case, just to put it into perspective, only a few weeks ago we learned of Cartagena, the Colombian scandal, 12 Secret Service agents.  Today nine of them are gone; two have been cleared and I believe the last one or two will be gone shortly.

In the case of “Fast and Furious,” this has gone on for more than a year.  Key people at all levels still have their jobs, and most of them we don’t even know their names.  So when it comes to taking quick action, I commend the Secret Service director.  I’ve got to question Eric Holder about holding people accountable.

KING:  So when?  When are you prepared to bring this to a vote?

ISSA:  Well, I’m prepared to continue trying to get to the truth.  I’ve said my patience is not infinite.  Obviously, we’ve prepared the documents.  Ultimately the decision belongs to leadership, because they have to decide on the House floor.  My committee is continuing to do its job.  We’re doing our job in dozens of other areas.

The American people want us working on waste, fraud and abuse broadly.  So this isn’t the only investigation, but it’s one very important to people on both sides of the border.  And I hope the president, over the break, will say to Eric Holder, if you want to continue having my full confidence, you’ve got to come clean with the information.

Otherwise, the buck will stop with the president and it will look like every other cover-up over the years.  It isn’t the president’s in the beginning; it becomes the president’s by the end, because of inaction.  That’s what I hope will change over the break