House Government Oversight and Government Accountability Chair Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said this morning that although the American people were lied to about Operation Fast and Furious, he does not believe President Barack Obama was directly involved in the “gun walking” scandal.
“We are seeing documents that we know to exist that are about Brian Terry—Terry’s murder and get to the truth,” said Issa. “I hope they [White House] don’t get involved. I hope it stays with the Justice. Ultimately Justice lied to the American people on February 4th and didn’t make it right for 10 months.”
Issa and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) were on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace to debate the future of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was held in contempt by the Oversight Committee this week, of which Cummings is also a member, and next steps in investigating the Fast and Furious scandal which now threatens to mar Obama’s presidency.
Cummings said he saw no reason for the scheduled contempt vote in the House of Representatives next week and that he believes that if House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has stayed at the periphery on the issue, were to talk with Holder, the issue would be resolved quickly.
“I think regarding to getting the documents we are on the one foot line of the field,” said Cummings. “I have no doubt that if Speaker Boehner showed the strong leadership, we can sit it down and work it out with the Attorney General and move on.”
When Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Issa what would happen after this week’s contempt hearing, suggesting the case could head to court, Issa stayed on point, saying that he would continue the investigation.
“I told [Brian Terry’s mother] that in fact we’re going to continue regardless of what the vote is,” Issa said. “We have an obligation to get to the bottom of the truth of ‘Fast and Furious’ and specifically both to his death and the cover up.”
Issa said on ABC’s This Week that he believes regardless of what the investigation turns up, Holder still lied initially and should be held in contempt.
“We’re past that part of the discovery, relative to contempt. We know that there’s lot of wrong things,” Issa said. “What we’re talking about now, when we get lied to, when the American people get lied to, there can’t be oversight when there’s lying. The Supreme Court held pretty clearly, there cannot be executive privilege over criminal cover-up. Or cover-up of crime. Lying to Congress is a crime.”
Issa said he would be willing to hold off a contempt vote in the House of Representatives if Holder complied with requests to turn over the remaining Fast and Furious documents, however.
“If the documents say what Eric Holder says, we might dismiss contempt. If we get documents that do show, cast some doubt, or allow us to understand this, we’ll at least delay contempt and continue the process,” Issa said. “We only broke off negotiations when we got a flat refusal when we asked to get information.”
Wallace also attempted to ask Cummings about former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claims that the Oversight Committee’s decision to hold the AG in contempt were about his fight to stop Republican led efforts to pass Voter ID laws, not his refusal to cooperate with Congress’ investigation into Fast and Furious - claims that MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Democratic Strategist Hilary Rosen reiterated today – but the Congressman ran out of time to answer the question.