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Public Statements

MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

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Date:
Location: Unknown

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DEL. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Of course.
Good to be with you.

DYSON: The ranking Democrat on your committee, Elijah Cummings, said,
"Holding someone in contempt of Congress is one of the most serious and
formal actions our committee can take and it should not be used as a
political tool to generate press as part of an election year witch hunt
against the Obama administration."

What are your thoughts about that? Do you agree with Congressman
Cummings?

NORTON: Wholly. Moreover, it shouldn`t be used as a negotiating
tactic. Chairman Issa virtually admitted that in the clip you just showed.
He said, oh, it`s not about going to contempt. It`s about, quote, "getting
more cooperation from the attorney general."

The documents subpoenaed are under court seal or pertain to ongoing
criminal investigations or part of a fishing expedition to see if there`s
anything there. And what`s really important I think to know here is that
the American people must think Fast and Furious is all about stone throwing
between Republicans and Democrats. I bet you the 99.9 percent wouldn`t
know what Fast and Furious was all about. So I would like a minute on
that, because this is a double tragedy.

The first and foremost, by far, tragedy, was the killing of an agent,
a border control agent when some guns kept coming from the United States.
The second tragedy, to be sure not nearly as tragic, but it`s important to
understand, the Bush and the Obama administration felt compelled to use
what are called gun walking tactics. Because they -- that is to say,
trying to let the guns go in a sting operation because the Republicans
bought and paid for by the gun lobby refused to fill a gaping hole in
federal laws that makes it impossible to prosecute people who engage in
purchases, mass purchases, of guns or gun running.

DYSON: OK.

NORTON: The law simply doesn`t allow that, so that they try to follow
these guns. One of these guns killed a devoted agent.

We had heard nothing about that in committee. And I`m on the
committee. That`s because they`ve been trying to see who struck John.
DYSON: Right.

NORTON: And in something that began, tactics that began in the Bush
administration and continued into the Obama administration.

DYSON: Sure. That`s very clear, to make that point that this began
under the Bush administration with a different name. It`s continued under
the Obama administration under this rubric of Fast and Furious.
Here`s Chairman Issa recently calling the Obama administration corrupt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISSA: But again, we`re very busy in Washington with a corrupt
government, with a government that I said more than a year ago was perhaps,
because of the money, because of the amount of TARP and stimulus funds, was
going to be the most corrupt government in history and it`s proving to be
that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Now, Chairman Issa has tried his best to create corruption
where it doesn`t exist, hasn`t he?

NORTON: He does. When you use a word like that -- I thought Chairman
Issa had moved off that kind of language. You better be able to come up
with a Fast and Furious, or all the evidence to back that up. We don`t
throw around words like that especially when we`re talking about the
attorney general of the United States. Nobody has ever tied him to Fast
and Furious or to any subpoenas or to knowing anything about this.

So, it`s a kind of reckless charge that leads the American people to
say, who cares? They`re looking at the economy to see if anything`s going
to happen to it and paying no attention to this. I wonder if these
subpoenas will ever go to the House floor.

No, never has a cabinet official been -- has a contempt citation
against a cabinet official been enforced by the courts of the United
States. Do you really expect the courts to come forward now and be dragged
into partisan subpoenas? I don`t, Eric. I don`t.

DYSON: I don`t think we`re going to see that at all. Congresswoman
Eleanor Holmes Norton -- thank you so very much.

NORTON: Always a pleasure.

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