Washington (CNN) — A week before his committee is scheduled to hold a vote on a resolution holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa told the Department of Justice Wednesday it still has a chance to produce materials about the failed “Fast and Furious” gun running operation and avoid a public vote.
LEADERSHIP, DOJ RACE TO AVERT CONTEMPT VOTE FOR HOLDER AS DATE SET — The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R Calif.) will vote next Wednesday on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
Holder also offered to meet with House Speaker John Boehner, R Ohio, Issa, R California, or others to find a way to avoid what he called a “constitutional crisis.”.
In fact, Holder explicitly offered to work with the Senate to “try and avoid what we think is an impending constitutional crisis,” a fact made clear by the transcript Fox Nation itself posted under their inflammatory headline.
The committee has demanded documents on Fast and Furious but Holder says the Justice Department does not have the documents the committee is seeking.
Attorney General Eric Holder has promised to meet with Congressional Republicans to compromise on their request for confidential Justice Department documents related to the botched Fast & Furious operation.
During a contentious hearing on Capitol Hill, Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee accused Holder of stonewalling and misleading congressional investigators on Operation Fast and Furious — a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives program intended to track guns sold illegally in the southwestern United States from 2006 to 2011 to their ultimate purchasers.
However, the guns purportedly were used in street crimes, and one was allegedly found after a shootout in which US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed.
Issa’s letter stressed that the committee modified its request to just these two areas and reiterated that addressing those areas was the way to avoid the vote next week.
Those talks haven’t yielded any progress, and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is planning his contempt vote for June 20 in committee.
“If the department wishes to settle this dispute short of contempt, the committee has offered it a clear path to do so without the need to disclose sensitive documents created during Operations Fast and Furious,” Issa wrote.
The Justice Department responded to Issa’s interpretation of the wiretap applications in a letter saying the agency disagrees with his assertion but is “legally prohibited from commenting on the content of sealed court documents.”.
We’re encouraged Chairman Issa has narrowed the universe [of documents demanded].
The Justice official, requesting anonymity, did not indicate how quickly the Justice Department would provide a formal response to Issa, but it appears likely Holder or Deputy Attorney General James Cole will respond in a letter to Issa within the next day or two.
Chuck Grassley’s request for the Justice Department “to share the affidavits with Congress. Holder replied that he was “willing to consider that as a possibility to try and avoid what we think is an impending Constitutional crisis.
While Issa says Holder is stonewalling, Justice Department officials emphasize that they have already given more than 7,000 pages in documents to House investigators and remaining materials Issa is demanding could jeopardize criminal prosecutions.
But Issa’s Wednesday letter, and the Justice Department’s response, struck a more conciliatory tone.
Just two days ago Issa notified members he was scheduling a vote on a contempt resolution for next week because Justice continued to refuse to release the materials.
A spokeswoman for Holder dismissed that move as something from “a tired political playbook.”.
Senior House GOP aides continue to say they want documents and the committee is pursuing its designated oversight role, but is being blocked by administration officials reluctant to detail an embarrassing program.
With five months left before the fall election, the high level back and forth with the administration and the GOP led House has become a political battle, with few expecting either side to back down.
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