tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN June 28, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT
here's mitt romney. >> as you might imagine, i disagree with the supreme court's decision. and it agree with the dissent. what the court did not do on its last day in session, i will do on my first day if elected president of the united states. and that is, i will act to repeal obama care. >> governor romney called it bad law and bad policy. but keeping them honest, it is also nearly identical to his own plan as governor of massachusetts. as for the mandate, well, keeping them honest, justice roberts today contradicted a key claim the president made. the president said that mandate was not a tax. >> for us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. what it's saying is, we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you. any more than the fact that right now everybody in america just about has to get auto insurance. nobody considers that a tax
increase. >> nobody that is except chief justice john roberts. republicans have been running today with his formulation. but keeping them honest, if justice roberts is right, if the obama care mandate really is just a tax, then so is the romney care mandate in massachusetts. listen to how then governor romney defended that. >> it's not a tax hike. it is a fee. it's an assessment. we're currently assessing our employ years, the great majority of employers in massachusetts are assessed this fee right now. >> the fee tops out at $1,200 now. it was somewhat lower when governor romney was defending it. just like president obama, mr. romney said the fee, or tax or penalty, whatever you want to call it, was there to make sure nobody was free ride on the health care system. that was six years ago. a lot's changed since. including, you'll remember these, those town halls three years ago. >> this is more about taking power and control than it is about health care. it's only the first step to socialism. >> i don't want this country turning into russia.
turning into a socialized country. >> we do not want this nation to be socialist. >> we do not want them involved in our health care decisions. we do not want obama care. >> why are we willing to take the best health care system in the world and throw it right out the window? >> government isn't the answer, it's the cancer. >> i believe our country is being stolen from us. >> how in the world are we going to pay for it? >> you need to get the government the hell out of our way. >> that anger was palpable. has it cooled since then? how will today's ruling change the dynamic? a lot ground to cover tonight. including legal and political. an expanded panel joins us momentarily. i want to start now with barbara comstock. barbara, good to see you on this important day. we just saw governor romney on tape there, insisting a mandate is necessary and that it is not a tax. most of the republican party today spent the day insisting it is a tax and it isn't necessary. does that complicate the message? the comparison between massachusetts now, as a matter
of fact, only two people in this country who have put a health care mandate in place, he's one of them. >> no, not at all. he was talking about a state policy. this is a national policy where we're imposing from the top down on every single state. what governor romney has said he will do on day one is he will give the states, all 50 states, a waiver from this national health care bill, so each state can go about doing what they want to do here. this is about federalism. allowing states to decide what's best for them. in the case of massachusetts, he decided there. but here, what is now happened is you have the american people having this $500 billion taxes imposed on all of them. whether their state chooses to or not. $500 billion in medicare cuts which nobody expected was going to happen in these things. this is something the president very strongly said was not a tax. argued with people like george stephanopoulos. you know, most of the members who voted for this bill said it wasn't a tax increase. today, it's been made very
clear. there are a lot of hidden tax increases in this. like taxes on investments. taxes on medical devices. the takeaway taxes on flexible spending accounts that many families with special needs children use. so, this is totally different. and the good thing is that, as president -- >> you said -- >> is going to repeal and replace, and not impose these taxes, these increased costs on states, you know -- >> barbara, let me jump in for a minute here. you say it's completely different. but if the mandate is, in fact, a tax, does that mean mitt romney introduced an ambitious health care plan that raised taxes in massachusetts, during a struggling economic recovery? which is exactly what he says the president did? >> it's totally different. on the federal level, you're not allowing federalism, allowing the states to decide. in that state, massachusetts decided what they wanted to do. here, we're going to have a situation where, you know, he wants to have national bills that can do things like buy across state lines, you know, get rid of pre-existing conditions.
there's a lot of bipartisan agreement on things we could do on the national level. then allow people on the state level to decide what they think is best for them. we could block grant medicaid. that would be something he supports. and would be great for, you know, all the states if they choose to do it. i'd prefer to have that in virginia. be like welfare reform. where virginia would be able to go about and see their unique population, throughout their states. what would be best for those populations. and using those federal medicaid dollars and how best we can do it. instead of having the state tell us, the national government telling us how we should do it. whether it is cost prohibitive. and i know obama care is going to cost my state millions and millions of dollars, it will cut into k through 12, college, transportation costs. and that's why we were the first state to reject obama care. that's why you'll see virginia, a swing state, be very unhappy with this. this will hit our small businesses, high tech companies that really need to get out from under this type of huge tax
that's going to be hitting our small businesses and our families. >> barbara, if you go to the governor's campaign website. it says if elected president he would nominate judges in the mold of chief justice roberts. anything about today's ruling maybe going to have the governor rethinking that one? >> well, i think he also sails chief justice roberts and alito, as i recall. i disagree with justice roberts' decision today. i obviously agree with the dissent. but i think you want to have a judge who foul loams the law, who doesn't make it up. i think what the dissent pointed out is that this sort of the, trying to turn the, you know, rewrite the law in order to say it's okay, really wasn't the way to go. but, hey, the good thing is, we have a democratic process. now people are going to be talking about this. and if we want to repeal and replace obama care, which, there's bipartisan agreement that we should do that, then we need to replace barack obama, because he will not do it and
mitt romney has promised on day one he will do that and not impose all the tax increases that the president has promised us, not only in obama care, but he has another raft of tax increases. we are going to be hit in january with barack obama, if he's still around in january, with the largest tax increase in history, when you combine all of these tax inkreelss that he's promised the american people. and that will crush our economy. >> the american people get that choice, barbara, in 131 days. >> that's why we need a president, mitt romney. >> with us now, ari fleisher. paul begala. who is advising the top obama super-pac. political analyst jeff toobin, and because at the end of the day, this is about your health care and the health care system, "360" m.d., dr. sanjay gupta. you said, instead of going on "anderson cooper" tonight and thundering about the injustices of the justices, i will be reduced to mewing about the mandate. better for the americans to be
sure, but tougher on me. damn that roberts. he outsmarted me again. i i want to give you that chance. have at it. mew away. >> it's astonishing. when someone as gifted as barbara comestock, in that long, one-sided soliloquy, still can't defend the indefensive, you know there's something big going down. it was kind of a tongue in cheek thing. i like to fulminate and scream and yell. i did something good for the soul. i visited teddy kennedy's grave. i said a prayer. what he would be saying now, he would be thundering, begala, get your head out of all the baloney and talk about the people. and sometimes hacks like me forget that. there's tens of millions of people with pre-existing conditions. with special needs children. who are going -- moms who need mammograms. grandparents who need to get medical care. folks like me who have kids in college who want to keep them on their health care. tens of millions people benefited by this decision. people like me tend to forget that sometimes. >> gloria, in all the conversation today, it's no question, the court gave president obama a policy victory.
some people say did he hand mitt romney a political rallying cry? will this be a national referendum now on whether or not to keep obama care. >> yes. >> yes, yes on that question? >> yes, yes, and yes. i mean, and we just learned that the romney campaign since the decision has raised $2.7 million. just like that, john. and it's given republicans new enthusiasm for mitt romney. even though, as you know, of course, and you just asked barbara comestock about, that mitt romney was governor of the state of massachusetts when it passed a mandate. but what's going to happen in the 2012 election is that we're going to relitigate health carol reform. republicans believe what happened in 2010 which worked for them, they took control of the house, is going to work for them again in 2012. democrats will say, like paul, now the president is unleashed. he's liberated. he can talk about the benefit that health care reform is going to have for americans, particularly those who are uninsured.
so it's going to sound a lot like 2010 to us, john. >> ari, remember, during the republican primary, a lot of the conservative challengers said mitt romney was the wrong messenger because he had a plan, it had a mandate, the obama plan was largely modeled on massachusetts. does that complicate -- they think this rallies the base. now, if you are dog to defeat 0 bama care, you have to defeat the president himself. they think it helps them. does his own record make it tricky? >> it does make it a bit tricky. here's the thing. mitt romney is imperfect carrier of this message. given the fact he's running against president obama and given the fact he has promised to repeal obama care on the first day, he's plenty good enough. that's what it comes down to. an obama/romney race over the issue that gloria points out, energized voters to come out for republicans in huge numbers in 2010. let me respond to something paul said earlier. i wish health care was as simple as paul said. you could wave the magic wand. extend the insurance to people who don't have it.
put people who are 26 and under on parent policies. and make it all not cost a lot. it doesn't work that way. the problem with giving health care away free so afternoon is, it drives up the cost of insurance for everybody else. and makes insurance harder to get for everybody else. that's the real problem with obama care. which now is going to become known as obama tax care. it's a big substantive problem too. it doesn't solve the problem. it adds to the cost. >> you say he's an imperfect messenger. let's listen to one of the clips that democrats are gloating over today. mitt romney when he was massachusetts governor. >> with regards to the mandate, the individual responsibility program which i proposed, i was very pleased to see the compromise from the two houses includes the personal responsibility principle. that is essential for bringing health care costs down for everyone. and getting everybody the health insurance they deserve and need.
>> now, the democrats say it's proof he loves the mandate. >> barbara responded to that by saying it's a federalism issue. which is a sound issue. but the real point is, elections are about the future. mitt romney has made that pledge that he repeal it on the first day. of course, president obama has to deal with his tax problem now. he promised us it wasn't a tax, indeed, if it was a tax, this congress would have never passed it, or the previous democratic congress never would have passed it. now, it's been sold to us as a penalty, but it is, indeed, a tax. the president, who said he wouldn't raise taxes on anybody who made below $250,000, now he's threatening to raise taxes on tens of million who make far, far less than that. >> david gergen, you can see from the reactions on both sides. the white house is trying to raise money. think the president kept his commitment. now with the help of the court to a signature issue of the democratic party. you see the romney campaign going to the right. raising a lot of money already. but what about the middle? it may be a small middle. how do the centrist swing
voters, who tend to decide 50/50 elections, do they want this fight over or do they want to litigate it again? >> excellent question, john. there's no question, there's no doubt this galvanizes the right. in talking to conservatives who were in state legislatures who got elected by the tea party folks, they say, look, this is what is going to bring the tea party out. this is the issue that ignited those town halls. i think it will give a lift on the republican side. but mitt romney cannot win with simply the tea party as a base, that part of the base. he needs to bring in some of the people from the middle. in talking to a variety of folks today, john, my sense is there are a number of people in the middle who will have said "enough is enough." we've been litigating, talking about this for a long time. the supreme court was going to provide the decisive test. it has come down in favor of the president. let's give it a shot. let's get back to the critical issue in this campaign of jobs and economic growth. so, it's not clear to me that if mitt romney can ride this horse all the way to the white house,
he's going to have to find a way to appeal to the middle. >> jeffrey, we're having this conversation on television. no cameras in the court. you were one of the lucky 500 in the room when the decision came down. not the ruling most people expected. including yourself. take us back into the room. play out how it happened. >> john, i've been in this building right behind you many times. and i have never heard a silence as profound and tense as the one that took place in the minutes before 10:00. the supreme court is a prompt institution. the stroke of 10:00, they walked in, they dealt with a relatively minor case, and then the chief justice said, i have the opinion. and the national federation of independent businesses versus the department of health and human services. roberts looked different than he usually does. he wasn't as confident, as outgoing, seemingly, as he usually was. he was almost downcast. and as he began to speak, he spoke first about the issue that
we had all been talking so much about. the commerce clause. does the congress have the power under the commerce clause of article 1 of the constitution to impose an individual mandate? and it became clear that he was saying no, congress doesn't have that power. and that seemed like it was it, that the law was going to be invalidated. and then, he turned to what had been a relatively minor issue. the taxing power. and you could see as he was talking, and several of us were looking at each other, saying, is he saying what we think he's saying? at that point, he said, this is something that is legitimate, that is tolerable under the taxing power. he was approving the law and i saw antonin scalia, sitting immediately to his right, who is the senior associate justice now and he looked distraught because he had lost this case. anthony kennedy who we thought was the swing vote, he later wrote a scathing, angry bitter dissent.
where he said he would have invalidated the entire law. so that's how close this was. but the result was quite clear. >> sanjay, you heard governor romney a few moments ago say on day one he would act to repeal it. if you go to his website, it gives a pretty detailed view of his positions on health care what we don't from him is a sequencing. if on day one, i'm going to try to repeal it, you take the stems you can, you ask the congress to do things. you've talked to his policy advisers about this. how do they do the sequencing? the governor says, he would keep the pre-existing condition thing, keep the other more popular things. but how would they do it? >> well, you know, it's funny because i've asked that same question, john. there's not good answers on that particular issue. even with regard to some of the bigger components. i talked to his health care policy provider. one of the things he pointed out was that, and this is obviously before the decision, and he said that the governor would keep the nondiscriminatory clauses, not allowing insurance companies to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions but get
rid of the whole mandate. that's very different than saying rebeautifuling the whole thing. a couple of things he brought up, john, was this idea that people should be allowed to purchase insurance, health care insurance, across state lines, allow more competition and drive down premiums that way, was one of the things. and then, he was talking more about incentives for people being healthy, doing things that would make them healthy. so, again, i didn't see anything about the sequencing. i'm not sure this is a radical departure. as it's been described. from what we're talking about now. those are the things that stuck out, talking to the health care policy adviser. >> ari, paul, david, thank you. let you know what you think. we're on facebook. you can follow the program on twitter. i'll be tweeting @johnkingcnn.
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jeffrey toobin famously predicted disaster. former bush attorney general alberto gonzales said he thought the law would be upheld. i talked to both earlier this evening about that and whether justice roberts' opinion today represents the kind of judicial modesty he promised during his confirmation hearing. judge gonzales, let me start with you. you basically called this yesterday. saying judge roberts would side with some of the liberals on the court. it didn't come down exactly as you thought. how so? >> well, you're right, we ended up where i thought we might be but i was surprised. i really thought chief justice would bring justice kennedy with him. i really felt the court would defer the question of the mandate because they would wait till 2014 or 2015 when someone is actually injured. so, but obviously, it didn't turn out that way. >> and, jeff, as you know, one of the hazards of our business is these video libraries. everything we say can come back to bite us. i want to take you back to march after oral arguments when you said this.
>> this was a train wreck for the obama administration. this law looks like it's going to be struck down. i'm telling you, all of the predictions, including mine, that the justices would not have a problem with this law were wrong. >> you were 1 of 500 people in the room when this came down and you knew you were going to eat some crow. >> i sure did. and, you know, look, our job is accountability for other people and it should be for us, too. i was wrong. i thought that argument went very badly. i was very critical of donald varili. is he's a hero in the obama administration. it's no surprise the president made his first phone call to varili afterwards. because -- look, i thought that the argument on the commerce clause was really the core of this case. and all of the conservative justices, including justice, chief justice roberts, and especially justice kennedy, were very skeptical about whether the commerce clause was a justification for this law.
they voted against the commerce clause. but this taxing power issue really snuck up on us and it certainly snuck up on me. looking back at the oral argument now, you can see that chief justice roberts asked a couple of questions about this, but he was obviously very aware of this issue from the beginning. and he saved the president's bacon on this one. no doubt about it. >> judge gonzales, you were involved in the nomination of john roberts back in the george w. bush administration. his 2005 confirmation hearing, he told the senate this, i will remember it's my job to call balls and strikes and not pitch or bat. is that what he's done with this decision? played umpire? as opposed to trying to influence the score? >> i have a great deal of confidence and faith in john roberts. you know, obviously, he's only been on the court six or seven years. i think his legacy's yet to be written. i think we just need to reserve judgment. he's a very bright man. he obviously is aware of his place in history. obviously aware about the protection, the reputation, of the court. but i still stand by our initial
analysis of john roberts. i think he's a conservative justice. and we'll decide, most cases, in that fashion. >> jeff, judge gonzales has an important point. judicial conservative versus political conservativism. because a lot of political conservatives are upset. they think, he's one of our guys, he's supposed to be automatic. isn't that in some ways, can't you make the case, this is a conservative decision? >> it's an issue of judicial restraint. the definition of judicial restraint is deferring to the democratically elected branches of government. and whatever you think of this law, it was passed by the congress and signed by the president. they're the ones who answer to the voters. i think we need to take a deep breath and also remember that john roberts has also been part of the majority in the citizens united case. he was part of striking down the civil rights decisions in louisville. and seattle. this is still a very conservative justice. >> judge gonzales, out in the country, people don't think much of any of the institutions of
washington. the approval rating of the supreme court now at the lowest it's ever been. recent pew poll found 52% held a favorable opinion of the court. it's been a big day and week for the court. do you think this will help or hurt the perception of the high court? >> i think it depends on what the people think of the decision. i think from the perspective of the judges, i certainly hope this is true. listen, they are given life tenure for a reason. their job is to do their job. apply the constitution. apply the law. irrespective of whether it's popular or not. that's their job. hopefully that will continue to be their job. >> jeff, the way the system is set up, the court, the high court, is supposed to be above the political fray if you will. essentially an apolitical body. even though the appointees come out of the political system. bush v gore raised a lot of questions about that. a lot of people were talking about justice scalia's dissent in the arizona case the other
day, very political. a big decision like this. do you think in terms of is the court political? is it above the fray? >> i would say it's not above the fray. look, these decisions are as much political as they are legal. the idea that there is some sort of clear dividing line between politics and law when you're talking about issues like whether a woman has a right to choose an abortion or a university can use race in admissions. the politics and the law are bound together. now, that is always -- it's hard to untangle. and, today, this was a decision that one justice behaved unpredictably, but eight of them behaved very predictably. and i think by and large the politics and the law merged together. but not 100% of the time, which is what makes these cases so interesting, because you never know when there is going to be an exception like there is today. >> jeffrey toobin, judge alberto gonzales, gentlemen, thank you. >> thank you.
that was earlier this evening. now, having already shown that doctors and lawyers can indeed get along, let's bring back dr. sanjay gupta and jeffrey too by. we've been talking about the politics and the law, but there are questions now about the practicality. what does this mean for everybody out there as it's implemented over the next few years? >> as you point out, it's not going to happen tomorrow. this is a process. for good reason. because there's a lot of moving parts here. basic -- couple of basic points here. first of all, they're saying, people have to have health care insurance now. if you can afford it, you have to buy it. if you can't afford it, you may get tax credits or may qualify for med case. and if you don't do those things, then you'll face a penalty. or a tax, as you've been talking about throughout the show. i want to give you some of these numbers here. i don't know if people understand some of these numbers. as far as the penalty or tax goes, in year 2014, when this is implemented, for an individual, that penalty will be $95 or 1% of your income, whichever's greater. by the year 2016, it would go up
to $695, again, for an individual, or 2.5% of your income. so big question, are people going to pay that penalty or are they going to get health care? i mean, they're going -- some people may weigh those two things and see how much each costs. and make their decision, that way. that's something to take into account. as to why not everyone will still have health care insurance. some people may choose to pay that penalty. there's also an expansion of medicaid at that time as well at the state level. it's going to go up to 133% of poverty level. if you look at the numbers now, that means for an individual making less than $14,800, they're going to qualify for medicaid. that's going to be 15 million more people on medicaid. so, when you talk about that 30 million more people being insured, that's a little bit of how they get to that number, and, again, it's going to take some time, john. >> as that plays out, jeff toobin, when it comes to health care bill, that building behind us, the supreme court, are we done?
is this now back to the political sector or could it come before the course again? >> done, over. this is not coming back. one of the things the justices do is they tend to take one last look at a subject and let the lower courts figure it out at this point. there are going to be lots and lots of cases about how the obama care law is interpreted. what all these provisions mean. but whether it's the law of the land, that's over, it is. >> sanjay and jeff, thanks so much. a lot more happening tonight. firefighters battling the giant waldo canyon fire may get a break in the weather. and not a moment too soon. we'll have a live report from the keep. that's next.
two explosions shake damascus. as the president there makes a vow that will only add to the deadly violence. that and more when "360" continues. that pride, that was on my face. i am jocelyn taylor. i'm committed to making a difference in people's lives, and i am a phoenix. visit phoenix.edu to find the program that's right for you.
the giant waldo canyon wildfire in colorado has devoured at least 346 homes in colorado springs. estimated to be 10% contained now and the u.s. forest service says it could be mid-july before the massive fire is fully under control. more than 30,000 people have been forced from their homes. the fbi is investigating reports that an arsonist may have started it all. president obama will arrive tomorrow to survey the damage and to meet with firefighters. rob marciano is in colorado springs for us. rob, bring us up to date. what's the latest on fighting the fires? >> reporter: well, john, we got lucky today. a thin veil of overcast clouds
came in. dimmed the sunshine enough to where temperatures were kept much cooler than we thought. kept the thunderstorm activity down, so, the winds we've seen the past several dales were not there. so, as you mentioned, firefighters got a bit of a handle on this, with 10% containment, but the damage is done. 346 homes burned by this fire. it is the most destructive fire in colorado history. behind me, you can see, across i-25, can't get much access beyond that. the air force academy is staging the choppers that are fighting this fire. you see the smoke. you also see the communities that are right up against that smoke and that flame, very still, very close to the fire line. this is not the only fire burning. as we've been reporting for weeks, john. there are several large fires still burning across the state of colorado. >> rob, it is always a problem across that region this time of year. but it seems that colorado is burning worse than some of the surrounding states. why is that? >> well, we didn't have much snow this winter, john. it's been a hot spring too.
couple that with the fact we had a ton of snow last year. so that fed the vegetation we had. a ton of vegetation this year. it was dried out earlier than usual. we had this record searing heat we've been enduring the past several days. that's the main reason colorado really is feeling it. we're just getting started really into fire season. >> and for days, the weather was an impediment to fighting the fire. you say it's a bit of a break today. what's the forecast looking ahead to tomorrow? >> well, about the same as what we saw today. that would be great. we have seen temperatures well up and over 100 degrees the several days. we'll take them in the 80s or even the lower 90s. as far as the rest of the country, the heat that accelerated this fire is now moving to the east and is going to be a record breaking heat wave for parts of the east coast. look at some of these numbers. well up and over 100 forecast for tomorrow, st. louis, nashville, atlanta, even in d.c., john. you may touch 100 degrees. that's dangerous heat. fire or not. back to you. >> rob marciano, live for us out in colorado, thank you. let's get to some other stories.
"6 360 bulletin" is now. >> thank you, john. secretary of state clinton is in russian in a bid to stop moscow from providing arms to the syrian regime. in central damascus, two massive explosions. in what state run tv called an attack on the justice ministry. opposition groups report 140 people, including a number of syrian troops, were killed across the country today. other news, a new emergency text message system will alert people in areas threatened by severe weather. the national weather service and fema launched the service today, which will broadcast messages to all cell phones within reach of an affected area. and snoop dogg paid a fine of nearly $2,000 in norway for carrying marijuana through customs at an airport. police spokeswoman says the rap star was carrying 8 grams of pot. oh, dear. back to you, john. >> pay the fine, pay the fine. isha, thanks. coming up, democrats express their own contempt by walking out of a house vote to hold the
attorney general holder in contempt of congress. a serious vote, just as new and serious questions are being raised about what the fast and furious operation was really all about. the latest, next. ♪ send a note stay informed catch a show. make your point make a memory make a masterpiece. read something watch something and learn something.
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united states in contempt of congress. the vote against eric holder came late this afternoon, and being health in contempt for refusing to hand over certain documents relating to the investigation of the fast and furious weapons operation. many democrats refused to participate, walked off the house floor in protest. shortly after the contempt vote, holder called it unnecessary and unwarranted. >> today's vote may make for good political theater in the minds of some, but it is, at base, both a crass effort and a grave disservice to the american people. they expect and they deserve far more. >> today's vote follows a report that suggests the fast and furious may not have been the scandal we've been led to believe it is. after six months of reporting, fortune magazine's catherine ebonn writes that letting guns be smuggled into mexico was never part of the plan. a member of the house committee joins me now live. congressman, you were here on
the program last night with soledad, taking issue with the article. i want to read your statement from the attorney for the special agent in charge of the phoenix atf office back at the time of the fast and furious program. he says, quote, bill has given multiple sworn statements to congress, each of which has within a truthful account of the atf investigation and each of which is entirely consistent with the reporting in the fortune article. bill has maintained there was never a plan or tactic to walk guns, that atf agents seized guns when they were lawfully permitted to do some by the u.s. attorney's office and to his knowledge, the whistleblowers never raised a concern over so-called gun walking tactics and any testimony by them to the contrary would be, in his opinion, false. he's saying the magazine article is in line with what the agent told the congress. how do you respond? >> well, i don't care what he told us in that statement. what we're seeking are all of the documents relating to an incident in which and a plan in
which we know first of all that the department of justice lied to us. they told us they knew nothing about it from february 4th, 2011, for some 11 months. we have documentation that they knew and kept this from us. and then, furthermore, we have subpoenaed documents and asked patiently for eight months for the rest of the information. i really don't give a hill of beans what's in any magazine article. my job as a representative of the people, when taxpayer's money has been used to develop a plan and to end up with guns being transported into mexico, given to drug dealers and murderers, and an agent killed, we need to find out all the facts. >> but you say you don't give a hill of beans what's in a magazine article, sir, but what about what the attorney just said?
his client worked for the atf at the time. he says he told congress things consistent with the magazine article. do you give a hill of beans about what he told you? >> well, different people have told us different things. including, first, lies from the department of justice. then eric holder told us a different story. and we have magazine article stories that you may want to quote. all i'm interested in is a member of the investigative arm of congress, is getting all of the documents relating to what took place, holding people accountable. making certain that, again, the pleas of even the terry family, who lost their loved one in this botched scheme, cooked up by the department of justice, at taxpayers' expense, that people are held accountable. period. what can't you understand about that? this is -- we had many democrats support us today in our effort. this is a simple right of congress. we fund that activity of the
department of justice. we created the department of justice. and we have an oversight responsibility. and to have the attorney general make a comment like that is an insult to this whole process. and i called before for his resignation. and i think he should step down immediately. the shame and disgrace he's brought to that agency. >> you are correct when you say the justice department initially said it had no knowledge of this. but the attorney general later did acknowledge the existence of so-called gun walking, saying any instance of so-called gun walking is unacceptable. regrettably, this was used as part of fast and furious. according to that article, there was one instance of gun walk. but it insists only one. are you willing to give the attorney general the benefit of the doubt? that perhaps what happened happened only once and no more? >> absolutely not. this is why we're doing this. trying to get the documents that have the evidence of who did what. who's responsible.
this is a fundamental right of the investigative arm of the house of representatives. that's the committee on investigations and oversight. for him to thwart it in this manner is a disgrace to his office. today, he disgraced the office and forced this vote by not complying. i said on the floor he has been in contempt. he is in contempt. and he has contempt for the people of the united states. and the department of justice by his actions today. >> congressman, you've suggested that you believe the obama administration may have been using fast and furious as an excuse to crack down the rights of gun owners inside the united states. a lot of people sail that's unfounded. but you have doubled down in recent days. what is your evidence, sir? >> well, first, just go back. i mean, the great thing, you can google now, just go on the internet and search and look at the administration. their whole plan was that the
violence in mexico was due to weapons, united states weapons, getting into mexico. that is a completely bogus argument. i chaired criminal justice and drug policy subcommittee. i know what went on. there's corruption from one end of mexico to the other. there's drug trafficking. there's murders. there's gangs. and the next thing they'll be asking us to do is ban knives because now they resort to decapitation of their victims. >> but you say that you don't believe their theory. but what -- when have they asked the congress -- what gun law has about the very beginning. and how this tried to come down. >> but by you -- you say they're trying to undermine the gun rights of gun owners in the united states. to undermine or take back gun rights, they would have to introduce legislation, would they not? >> yes. what they were trying to do is set the premise.
first, they said the violence in mexico was due to guns coming from the united states. little did we know that they were actually being supplied by the department of justice in a scheme that the taxpayers of the united states were funding. and would end up killing our agent, brian terry, and hundreds of mexicans. so, yes, they laid the groundwork for this. and the whole thing backfired. but it's pretty sad. this is a very sad day. we didn't want to do this. we asked. we could have stopped this whole proceeding if the attorney general had replied with a request from our lawful subpoenas that were delivered to him. >> so, where does it go from now? he's been held in contempt by the house of representatives. which may be a public embarrassment to him. you heard his defiant statement coming back to you. you don't still have these documents. will there be any effort to work this out? >> well, there was two things that passed. he was held in contempt on a
civil charge. he was held in contempt also on a criminal charge. he interfered and is interfering with a lawful investigation of the investigative committee of congress. he, again, is standing in the way of our pursuing what took place in criminal actions. we know there were criminal actions. people were killed. including a federal agent. so we will continue to use every lawful means, every process, due process. he's entitled to due process. and maybe he is totally innocent. maybe he has no responsibility or knowledge of what went on. his statements in that regard, though, are conflicting, from denying in the beginning and then telling us, oh, yeah, we knew about it, but we had to lie to you. so we will pursue this to the nth degree. that's our responsibility. >> congressman mica, appreciate
your time tonight, sir. >> good to be with you. thank you. wikileaks founder julian assange tries to fight extra days extradition. the latest on that next. catch a show. make your point make a memory make a masterpiece. read something watch something and learn something. do it all more beautifully, with the retina display on ipad. with two times the points on dining in restaurants, you may find yourself asking why not, a lot. chase sapphire preferred.
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california, salvio. he was prosecuted by the justice department for lying about earning the medal of honor. the justices said the so-called stolen valor law violates free speech protection. toxicology results showed the man who chewed off another man's face in an attack in miami did not have the drug known as bath salts in his system as police had suspected. testen on rudy eugene showed marijuana but no other drugs or alcohol. eugene was killed by police during the attack. british police have demanded that assange appear at a police station in connection with his extradition. assange is seeking asylum at the ecuadorian embassy in london. he's wanted for questioning in sweden on allegations of rape and sexual assault. jpmorgan's stock price is down following a "new york times" report that a trader known as the london whale could reach $9 billion.
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thanks for watching. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. next, president obama takes a victory lap on health care. mitt romney sees a republican rally cry. but do you know who really won? we do. for the first time in history, sitting attorney general charged with contempt of congress. he called it political. so, why did 17 democrats vote for it? one of them "outfront." and this man found guilty of child rape but is going to be receiving a big sum of money from penn state university. that doesn't add up. let's go "outfront." good evening, everyone. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, party time. both sides spinning the health care verdict. the president celebrating his individual mandate ruling at the supreme court. >> today, i'm as confident as ever that whenlo