The Republican leading the charge to have Eric Holder held in contempt of Congress has thrown the attorney general a lifeline by telling him he is willing to negotiate.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa told the nation’s top law officer he wants to meet him to discuss ways around the impasse caused by Holder’s refusal to produce documents related to the Fast and Furious gunrunning scheme.
“Let me be clear – if the Department of Justice submits a serious proposal for how it intends to alter its refusal to produce critical documents subpoenaed by the Committee, I am ready and willing to meet to discuss your proposal,” the California congressman wrote in a letter sent on Wednesday.
The move could indicate that Republicans are softening their stance on Holder, after more than 100 called on him to quit — the most recent being veteran Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch on Wednesday.
It came after Issa’s Senate counterpart, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, gave a similar message in an interview with Fox News’ Greta van Susteren.
For more than a year Republicans have been on Holder’s tail about Fast and Furious — a scheme which was supposed to lead federal agents to Mexican drug cartel leaders, by tracing guns to them.
However, the plan went terribly wrong and the weapons were involved in the murders of two federal agents and were used in hundreds of other crimes.
On Monday, Issa’s committee “narrowed the focus of what the Justice Department needed to produce to avoid contempt,” he wrote, and department officials indicated that could help bring a resolution.
“I appreciate your effort to resolve this dispute,” Issa wrote to Holder. “I believe the interests of the Department, Congress, and those directly affected by reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious are best served by an agreement that renders the process of contempt unnecessary.”
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