GOP Rep. Gowdy: Lerner Didn't Testify Because She Was Mad

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 11:33 PM

By Greg Richter

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When former IRS official Lois Lerner took the Fifth before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday it may have been because she was mad.

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, who chairs the committee, had announced on Sunday that Lerner would reverse course from her May 2013 appearance and offer testimony. But Lerner's lawyer quickly issued a statement saying Issa didn't know what he was talking about.

Issa later insisted that he had been led to believe Lerner would testify – without immunity – and he didn't know what had changed that.

But South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy shed a little light on the issue in a Wednesday night appearance on Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File."

"The only thing I can tell is what he said – that he doesn't like what Darrell Issa and I said over the weekend about his client. So he decided that she wasn't going to answer our questions," Gowdy said.

Story continues below video.



"I don't know what he thought we were going to ask," he added, saying that it was never going to be a comfortable interview for Lerner.

"I'm not going to ask her what her favorite color is. I was going to ask her tough questions all along, so I don't know what he thought changed," Gowdy said. "But that's the explanation we were given: that she changed her mind because she didn't like what Darrell and I said over the weekend."

Getting Lerner to ever tell her side of the story will be difficult, Gowdy said, "unless you want to get Jack Bauer out of retirement." Bauer is the government agent in the TV series"24" who was adept at torturing his enemies into giving up information.

But moments later, Gowdy sounded a different tone. He said he favors punishing her, presumably with contempt of Congress charges, if she remains silent.

The former federal prosecutor then added, "I did this for 16 years. Trust me, we can get her to talk."

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