WASHINGTON - A meeting between the Attorney General of the United States and the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has ended without an agreement to postpone the Committee’s vote that would decide whether to hold Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
Rep. Darrell Issa, the Committee Chairman, has been asking for internal records from the Department of Justice for months, but he says Holder has refused to deliver all of the documents he is requesting.
The records, according to Issa’s spokespeople, could reveal which DOJ officials knew about ATF’s controversial Fast and Furious case and how high-ranking officials handled the situation as details about the case continued to unfold.
Holder has said the case, in which Phoenix ATF agents failed to track guns as they were passed to criminals from straw buyers, was flawed.
“I had hoped that after this evening’s meeting I would be able to tell you that the Department had delivered documents that would justify the postponement of tomorrow’s vote on contempt,” Issa said.
“The Department told the Committee on Thursday that it had documents it could produce that would answer our questions. Today, the Attorney General informed us that the Department would not be producing those documents. The only offer they made involved us ending our investigation,” he said.
“The ball is in their court,” Holder countered after the meeting. “They rejected what I thought was an extraordinary offer on our part. They have, I guess until they decide. They have the ability to change their minds,” he said, accusing Issa of political gamesmanship.
“Deputy AG and I came here today in good faith, wanted to resolve ongoing dispute; have made to date unprecedented number of documents available, provided deliberative materials to committee, laid out plan that might resolve this matter, offered to make documents available from Feb to Dec 2011, at least as of now the committee has rejected that proposal,” said Holder, after the meeting.
“It is our hope that we can somehow find a way through this; our offer is still there, still outstanding, far beyond what Justice Department has done previously. We offered the documents that satisfy 2 subpoenas sent to us; emails, documents of that nature, detail how the department handled itself from Feb to Dec. 2011, shows the department made no attempt to deceive,” he said.
A vote is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
If the Committee votes in favor of the contempt of Congress action, the issue would next go to the entire House of Representatives for a vote.
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