But the point is, we're past that part of the discovery, relative to contempt. We know there's a lot of wrong things, and we want to get to fixing it. What we're talking about now is, when we get lied to, when the American people get lied to, there can't be oversight if there's lying, and there cannot -- the Supreme Court has held pretty clearly, there cannot be executive privilege over criminal cover-up or cover-up of a crime. Lying to Congress is a crime. We have every right to see documents that say, did you know, when did you know, what did you know, including even the president.
TAPPER: Let's talk about the president. I understand you're sending a letter to the president tomorrow about his invocation of executive privilege. What are you going to say in that letter?
ISSA: Better -- Jake, better scholars than myself are, in fact -- have prepared a letter -- we'll send it out probably today or tomorrow -- that breaks down the points of why the president's executive privilege claim is either overbroad or simply wrong. And our hope is that, as to at least a lot of these documents, including the documents often referred to as 1300, that were offered to us in this deal, that at least since those were offered to us, that the president would see -- we -- we would see them.
If those documents say what Eric Holder says they say, we might, in fact, dismiss contempt in -- in either case. But I can tell you one thing here. If we get documents that do show -- cast some doubt or allow us to understand this, we'll at least delay contempt and continue the process. We only broke off negotiations when we got a flat refusal to give us information needed for our investigation.
TAPPER: During the Bush administration, President Bush invoked executive privilege at least four times. You had no problem with it. In fact, here is you walking out of the chamber of the House during the invocation of the vote to hold some of Bush's aides in contempt. Explain to me why executive privilege was OK for President Bush, but not OK for President Obama?
ISSA: Jake, I also serve on Judiciary, so we saw those -- you know, the Conyers executive privilege argument going on, and we saw the whole question of what Congress was trying to get to. And I had some problems with the Bush administration. Attorney General Gonzales and I did not have a good relationship. I thought he was -- he ill-served his president. And I said so at the time. There were mistakes made.
Ultimately, I respect executive privilege if it's -- if it's top executives speaking or preparing and -- to the president. But in this case, the president has already said -- and the attorney general under oath has said -- they weren't communicating...
TAPPER: But that wasn't what Bush said. As you know, I'm sure, the Bush administration argued that executive privilege covered documents within a cabinet agency, not just conversations with the president. He said -- this is from Mukasey in June 2008 -- the doctrine of executive privilege also encompasses executive branch deliberative communications that do not implicate presidential decision-making. As the Supreme Court has explained, the privilege recognizes the valid need for protection of communications between high government officials and those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties.
So it wasn't just for presidential communications.