Colorado’s Morning News, Mike Coffman, June 21, 2012

Station:    850 AM, KOA

Show:      Colorado’s Morning News

Guest:      Coffman

Link:        http

Date:        June 21, 2012

Topics:     Fast and Furious, Eric Holder, Attorney General, Birther, Apology, Contempt of Congress, Executive Privelege, Brian Terry, ATF


HOST STEFFAN TUBBS:  5:20 on 850 KOA, Steffan Tubbs, April Zesbaugh, this is Colorado’s Morning News.  You’re probably aware by now how the House committee voted yesterday along party lines to cite Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt, kind of putting a cap on what’s been going on in Washington over the last couple of days, dealing with Fast and Furious, and it’s kind of a convoluted story as to what happened in 2010.  Let’s get into that and more with Congressman Mike Coffman.  He joins us on the news line. Good morning.


TUBBS:  First of all, when is the first time this came on your radio as a member of the United States Congress?

COFFMAN:  Well, when we were informed of it by ATF, that–when they became public, really, late in 2010, really early 2011, when they went public with this program – Fast and Furious that was going on.  Then we knew in December 2010 that we lost a border patrol agent, Brian Terry, who was murdered and two of these weapons that were unaccounted for, that were supposed to be tracked, that were found at the scene.

HOST APRIL ZESBAUGH:  Are we looking at potential Constitutional confrontations, here?  And what are your thoughts on the President invoking Executive privilege?

COFFMAN:  Well, I was pretty stunned.  I mean, why did the President wait to invoke executive privilege now, at this late hour, when probably next week we’ll do a contempt of Congress vote against Eric Holder for not being forthright with the Congress.  But, I think it’s buying time for the administration to get past this election because the issue would have to be litigated in court as to his rationale for executive privilege, and that will bring us past the election.

ZESBAUGH:  Should the Attorney General of the US be held in Contempt of Congress?

COFFMAN:  Absolutely.  At this point, there is simply no question about it. This is not Watergate, where it’s a low-level burglary but it was the cover-up that was the issue.  Of course, the cover-up is the issue here, but this is the murder of a law enforcement official, Brian Terry, not to mention a couple hundred Mexican nationals that have been killed by these weapons.  And so, in my view, Eric Holder has not been honest with the Congress, and I think that the documents that have been requested reflect that, and clearly, the President, by invoking executive privilege at this late hour, is trying to protect Attorney General Holder.

ZESBAUGH:  If the full House approves the Holder contempt citation, there could be a federal criminal case against him, right?  That’s the next step?

COFFMAN:  It would be the next step, but that is a referral to the US Attorney for the district of Washington D.C. who is an Obama appointee, so I don’t hold my breath for that.

TUBBS:  Ah, I hate to bring it up, but I have to because we haven’t talked to you about it.  I mean, are you over this whole Obama controversy?  Has that gone by the way-side?  Was it made too big of a deal?  Were you taken out of context with the un-American comment with the President?

COFFMAN:  [nervous chuckling] I’d say all of the above.  What I found out, certainly, is that when you make a mistake like that and you’re off message, it certainly hurts.  And obviously, be more careful going forward, much more measured in my comments so I can’t be misinterpreted, and also to, I think, clearly be more professional in my demeanor, because the American people have to make a decision in this election coming up – on president, on my race, on other races.  This is such a critical time for the country. I think we’re at a tipping point.    And we need to stick with the issues.

ZESBAUGH:  You talked about politics related to Fast and Furious on the Democrat side, but what about Republicans?  I think Democrats would come out and say, “This is only becoming a huge issue because it’s an election year.”

COFFMAN:  No, I think if we – if – there’s an oversight responsibility by the Congress.  There is a dead law enforcement official that was murdered as a result of some of these weapons getting out to and found at the crime scene.  So, this certainly goes beyond this.  What we need is accountability.  Who authorized the program?  Who knew about the program?  How did it get out of hand?  What an extraordinarily crazy idea to do, to put these weapons in the hands of dangerous criminals, to think that we could somehow attract them.  And that didn’t happen.  And somehow by tracking them, identify key cartel members.  So, what an insane idea.  What a costly idea.

TUBBS:  Yeah.

COFFMAN:  And so, part of the oversight functions is let’s get down to the bottom of it.  Look, again, in Watergate, it wasn’t the fact that there was a break-in at the Watergate Hotel that brought down the Nixon presidency.  It’s the fact that President Nixon and at the highest levels of his administration tried to cover it up and wasn’t honest about it.  And I think that’s what we’re being confronted with here.

TUBBS:  Congressman, we appreciate the candor.  Thank you so much for joining us, as always.

COFFMAN:  Thanks for having me.

TUBBS:  Congressman Mike Coffman on the 850 KOA Newsline.  Money news, right around the corner.