Trey Gowdy, Jason Chaffetz: Not Giving Lois Lerner Immunity but…Can’t Do Much Else Either

The following is the transcript of a clip of Congressmen Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and the full interview with Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer yesterday. The subject is the IRS targeting of conservative groups being denied tax exempt status and Lois Lerner, the former IRS Tax Exempt Department head, and her call-back to testify before Congress on March 5th, after having pled the Fifth Amendment. It is painfully clear that under this administration, attacks on opposing parties will not be stopped.

Trey Gowdy

Trey Gowdy

The only option that Gowdy proposes possible for some headway is for her attorney to write a proffer, detailing what Lois Lerner is willing to testify to, and then Congress can decide whether she will be a defendant or a witness. Lerner is demanding immunity. Gowdy says she is not getting it, “period.”

I don’t believe there will be a proffer. Why would there be, when she knows, and we know, the Capitol police are not going to come and escort her out of the Chambers (as Gowdy suggests they could) and take her to where ever she should be taken? It’s not going to happen, so why would she detail anything? Issa has no stomach for this. She has the entire Department of Justice behind her, likely counseling her to keep quiet, ‘proffer nothing,’ she is being told, is my guess. Here’s the transcript and video.

Gowdy makes it clear that Congress cannot indict, prosecute, or put her in jail. If she continues to plead the Fifth Amendment, Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee can hold her in Contempt of Congress. We saw how that worked out with Eric Holder when he was held in Contempt of Congress for Fast and Furious. He laughed in their faces. Nothing changed. Gowdy makes it clear that the DOJ must hold her criminally liable, and he says he hopes they will do their job, but you might as well hope that Obama will step down from the presidency or that we each win $500 million in the next lottery, because the Executive Branch will do nothing detrimental to Lois Lerner. The U.S. Senate will do nothing to help. Nothing will get done. The IRS will pass its new laws, and conservative organizations will no longer have tax-exempt status, and not a single person will have been punished. Here’s the video and the transcript.

Jason Chaffetz

Jason Chaffetz

JASON CHAFFETZ (R-UT): You can claim your Fifth Amendment right but you can’t also make a statement. She waived that right. She’s going to come here. Now, she says she’ll be glad to come up to Capitol Hill if we give her immunity, but we’re not interested in giving her immunity. She may have to pay some consequences for what she did or did not do.

She can plead the Fifth and make a statement of innocence, because she already has, and Gowdy says to take her court for it will take years.

HEMMER: I’m just trying to figure out next Wednesday if she shows, and she sits down and you ask her a question and she takes the Fifth [Amendment], it’s a repeat of what happened last May. That’s possible. Will it happen?

GOWDY: Well, it can happen and if that happens, then we’re going to have to evaluate whether or not to hold her in Contempt of Congress, which could include a visit from the Capitol police and being incarcerated.

What is more likely to happen, I think, is her attorney is going to do what he should have done months ago, which is write out a proffer, Bill, write out for us what she will testify to. It’s not going to be used against her, but it’s not immunity. We’re never giving her immunity, and when he asks for it, he comes across as someone who hasn’t been to law school. We’re not giving her immunity. Period. What…

HEMMER: If she’s asking for immunity, what would that suggest then?

GOWDY: Well, that she’s guilty and that we should buy a used car over the telephone. Nobody does that. We don’t know what she’s done, so why would you give someone immunity when you have no idea what criminal conduct they’ve engaged in? I don’t know if she killed Jon Benet Ramsey, so why would we give someone immunity when we have no idea what criminal conduct they’ve engaged in?

You write out a proffer. The prosecutors evaluate it and then we decide whether we would rather have you as a defendant or a witness, and right now, I’d rather have her as a defendant, because I don’t think she has any credibility.

HEMMER: So, no on the immunity issue. What about going to a federal court to compel her? Will you do that?

GOWDY: Sure, and then your grandson can ask my grandson how the investigations going, because that’s going to take forever. If we go to an Article III court and ask them to find that she waived her Fifth Amendment privilege, the president’s going to be back in Hawaii and you and I are going to be doing something else. We need something done on this investigation now. It would be great if the Department of Justice did what they’re supposed to do.

Jason Chaffetz should not be talking about immunity with you. The Department of Justice should, but they won’t do their job so, we’re going to have to do it for them. Bring her back and, hopefully, under a proffer, she will tell us what she knows about this investigation, and then we’ll negotiate.

HEMMER: The way you’re talking suggests that she’s hiding something, or perhaps she’s hiding a lot. What do you think she knows?

GOWDY: Well, she was the head of the exempt entity part of the IRS. She is the author of the email that, ‘we’re were going to dicuss something off-plan.’ She’s the one who initially apologized. Remember that? At that boring ABA Conference where they leaked this apology. I think she connects this scandal all the way to Washington, and she’s holding out for a better deal, but it’s not going to be immunity until we know what your testimony would be. And you can’t sit there and say you’ve done nothing wrong and nothing illegal and then hide behind the Fifth Amendment and expect us to give you immunity. That is not going to happen.

HEMMER: So what happens next week then?

GOWDY: She comes. She invokes her Fifth Amendment privilege. Darrell Issa either elects to hold her in Contempt of Congress or her lawyer smartens up and says ‘let’s go in the back and discuss a resolution to this. Those are the two things that can happen.

HEMMER: Where does it go after Lois Lerner, do you think?

GOWDY: I hope that the Department of Justice at some point takes this investigation seriously, because as you know, I can’t prosecute Lois Lerner. I can’t indict her. I can’t put her in prison. Only the Executive Branch can do that and the president in his Super Bowl interview said “there’s not a smidgen of corruption.” So, if the DOJ is not going to do their job criminally, we’re going to have to do our job oversight, but Congress will not prosecute her. We can’t indict her, and we can’t put her in jail, except for Contempt of Congress for not talking.

HEMMER: One more point here from yesterday’s hearing and whether or not anyone’s been fired. Watch.

Hemmer plays a clip of a hearing from yesterday:

REP. TOM GRAVES (R-GA): How many in the Department have been reprimanded or terminated as a result of that latest scandal of scrutiny of various organizations?

JOHN KOSKINEN, IRS COMMISSIONER: That process — there is a Review board, the leadership from the top on down is all gone, uh, at this point, and several people are no longer at the IRS. [end clip]

HEMMER: I take it zero. Do you have other information on that?

GOWDY: Yeah, I think all of that is Latin for zero. Not a single person has involuntarily lost his or her job, despite 12 months of investigation, and admitted wrongdoing, no one has been fired.

HEMMER: March 5th is the date, next Wednesday. Sir thank you. Trey Gowdy, Republican from South Carolina

Bill Hemmer Interviews Jason Chaffetz and Trey Gowdy (video)
Linked at BadBlue, uncensored news 24/7. Read it here.

Linked at Doug Ross and Larwyn’s Linx in the Harry Reid , Liar edition – thank you!

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  • KatieNorcross

    How about she testifies or she will be given a bullet to the head. Works for me.

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  • carlito

    It is Contempt of Congress, not Contempt of Court. Which means little more than a citation inasmuch as Congress has not power to physically hold her.

    • carlito, thanks for that. I knew it, just in too big a hurry, and not thinking. I’ve corrected it. I was thinking at the time whether or not to bring up Obama’s and Salazar’s Contempt of Court in Louisiana but decided it didn’t fit the story. I think Gowdy was actually saying the Capitol Police can hold her, but they won’t, of course. Again, thanks.