- (Photo: REUTERS/Jose Luis Magana)
Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the House Oversight Committee Chair who has led the "Fast and Furious" investigation, claimed Sunday that some Democrats will vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress when the House of Representatives votes this week on the issue.
"I believe it will be bipartisan," Issa said on "Fox News Sunday." "You 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."
Issa also appeared Sunday on ABC's "This Week" and NBC's "Meet the Press" to discuss the contempt vote against Holder.
When the Oversight Committee voted last week to send a contempt vote to the full House, none of the Democrats voted in favor. Democrats have argued that the contempt vote is an election year stunt to make Democrats look bad.
The Republicans on the Oversight Committee are recommending holding Holder in contempt of Congress for not turning over emails showing Justice Department communications between February 2011 and December 2011. In February 2011, a Justice Department official testified before the committee that the "Fast and Furious" program did not sell guns to drug traffickers as part of a sting operation and lost track of them. In December 2011, the Justice Department admitted that there was such a program.
The "Fast and Furious" program came under scrutiny after weapons sold under the program were found at the scene of the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The Justice Department has since shut down the program and admitted they made a mistake.
Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of House Oversight Committee, appeared with Issa on "Fox News Sunday." He said he will do everything he can to uncover how the "Fast and Furious" program led to the death of Terry, but the contempt vote has nothing to do with the murder of Terry. Rather, it deals with internal proceedings within the Justice Department after the program was shut down.
Issa met with Holder before the Committee's contempt vote. On ABC's "This Week," Issa complained that Holder did not have any offer in writing, but told him orally that he would brief Issa on the documents he requested, then provide documents to support the briefing if Issa first agrees to dismiss his subpoenas and contempt vote.
"We can't do that," Issa said of Holder's offer on "This Week." "You can't play liar's poker when you're looking for who killed somebody, when you're looking into this kind of a crime and when you're looking into the cover-up. Remember, it was deny, delay and accuse."
President Barack Obama has claimed the right of executive privilege to withhold the documents that the Oversight Committee wants to see. Issa believes that Obama does not have grounds to claim executive privilege in this case. On "This Week" he called Obama's executive privilege claims "overly broad or simply wrong."
Issa also said, though, that there was no evidence that the White House was involved in the Justice Department's cover up of "Fast and Furious."
Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Issa what would happen next if the House holds Holder in contempt.
"You can refer it to the U.S. Attorney, who works for Holder. ... You can file a lawsuit in federal court, which will take years. You can impeach him. .. You can try to arrest him ... and have a standoff between the Sergeant-at-Arms and his security people, or do you just let it sit there?" Wallace asked.
Issa answered that it is not his job to look at what happens next, but, as chair of the Oversight Committee, his job is to conduct investigations into government misconduct. There are a "host of other failures" in the current administration, Issa said.