Darrell Issa, Republican witch hunter extraordinaire, went on Fox News Sunday to predict that House Democrats will vote with Republicans to find Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
Transcript via Fox News Sunday:
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.
Rep. Issa had the BS flying fast and furious (pun intended) on Fox News Sunday this morning. There is zero indication that Democrats are going to vote to find Eric Holder in contempt. Anyone who watched the six hours of House Oversight Committee debate on the contempt charge could quickly see that there was no bipartisan support for this. In fact, the final committee vote to move the contempt charge to the full House was strictly party line. Sorry Rep. Issa, but your bogus scandal isn’t going to gain credibility and political cover with Democratic votes.
The second part of the transcript above demonstrated how much of a fraud this “investigation” really is. Issa doesn’t want documents. He wants internal emails. He is not going to get those emails, because in 2001 George W. Bush successfully invoked executive privilege when Congress requested emails related to his Department of Justice. The precedent has been set. There is absolutely no way that any judge is going to order the Obama administration to turn over internal deliberative emails.
Bush angered Republicans over a decade ago by taking it a step beyond what Obama invoked. Then President Bush not only asserted executive privilege over his emails, but also internal Justice Department deliberations over former President Clinton’s fundraising tactics.
Beyond the Republican desperation to attach a scandal to Obama, this is also a continuation of a battle between the executive and legislative branches. Bush’s successful executive privilege expanded the privilege to internal deliberative emails. House Republicans have been fuming about this for a decade plus, and they want to get some of that power back from the executive.
Issa even admitted that there is no White House coverup:
WALLACE: Question: do you have any evidence that White House officials knowingly were involved in these decisions, that they knowingly misled Congress and are involved in the cover-up?
ISSA: No, we don’t. And what we are seeking are documents we know to exist, February 4th to December, that are, in fact, about Brian Terry’s murder, who knew, and why people were lying about it, and get to the truth. That’s all we want.
Eric Holder ends up being the custodian of the documents. We would go to the deputy attorney general just as easily if he would give us the documents. That’s all we are looking for is documents, which are internal to the false statement and not part of the deliberative process, you know —
WALLACE: I just want to be clear. We’ve got to get out. No evidence at this point that the White House is involved in the cover up?
ISSA: And I hope they don’t get involved. I hope this stays at Justice. And I hope that Justice cooperates, because ultimately, Justice lied to the American people on February 4th and didn’t make it right for 10 months.
If there is no White House coverup, there is no big scandal. Beneath the Holder witch hunt, this fight is morphing into a battle over executive privilege.
All presidents see themselves as having a duty to protect the power of the Executive Branch. If the Obama administration voluntarily turned over internal emails, in their view, they would be weakening the power of the Executive. When Rep. Issa claims that there are no legal grounds for Obama’s executive privilege claim, he isn’t being truthful. He knows that he isn’t being honest, but his foolish hope of bringing Obama down powers the false statements that continue to fall out of his mouth.
Fast and Furious is right wing conspiracy theory that never caught on, and soon after the full House votes to find Eric Holder in contempt, likely along party lines, this story will vanish back into the right wing conspiracy black hole where Obama’s birth certificate, Bill Ayers, and Obama the secret Muslim currently reside.