Issa: 'Low Expectations' that Holder will Take Responsibility for AP Scandal

Issa: 'Low Expectations' that Holder will Take Responsibility for AP Scandal

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told reporters Tuesday evening that he does not expect Attorney General Eric Holder to proactively attempt to atone for his and the Department of Justice’s actions in secretly seizing phone records from the Associated Press.

“We understand he’s recused himself,” Issa said Tuesday. “We have low expectations that he will take responsibility for this egregious attack on the First Amendment.”

When one reporter asked Issa if this scandal will lead to Holder’s ouster, Issa responded: “I think the press has to decide whether or not the Attorney General is upholding and defending the Constitution, particularly the First Amendment. Don’t you?”

When Breitbart News asked Issa if his committee would be conducting a probe into the records seizure, he said that his committee will help but House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) will likely lead the way on such an investigation.

“After all, this is very much a question of abuse by an agency that he oversees and the constitutional committee is the Judiciary Committee,” Issa explained. “So, we’re looking forward to helping him but we would expect that a big chunk of this will come through Judiciary.”

“I’m the chief investigative committee but I’m not the only one with oversight. Every committee of Congress has an obligation to do oversight,” he added.

Issa again would not make such a call on Tuesday night. Even so, he did express little if any confidence in Holder’s ability to lead the Department of Justice. “I make it a practice to avoid calling on the resignation of primary individuals that work for the president,” Issa said. “So, would I hire the Attorney General based on his past performance? No. I wouldn’t hire Tom Perez based on his past performance. But, who the president chooses is his decision. Who the president gets confirmed is the Senate’s. I’ll put out the facts and others will decide.”

Issa has been a man on a mission on Capitol Hill in recent months, as scandal after scandal has torn away at President Barack Obama’s administration. Issa seems to be getting better at his job, but he credits his staff and his committee’s members for making him better.

“Every day is a learning experience here,” Issa said in response to a reporter asking him if he has gotten better at the job since he started a little over two years ago. 

My team is more mature this year than last Congress. Many of my members last Congress were freshmen. I was in my first term as a chairman. In fairness, on some issues, Mr. [Oversight committee ranking member Rep. Elijah] Cummings [D-MD] has been more cooperative on some legislative issues. But, at the same time, I have a great team of investigators that have worked hard and a lot of the best work including the hearing last Wednesday–it takes a long time to get that information. We asked the Inspector General for a number of investigations, the Treasury Inspector General, last June. You’re just hearing about the IRS targeting from an investigation that began last June. That’s sort of a little bit of the nature of the beast, so if I’m better it’s because my members are more matured in their job and my staff is doing a great job.