Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley is withholding immediate judgment on whether Attorney General Eric Holder should resign over his handling of the Fast and Furious gun-trafficking operation, but says it can’t be ruled out if Holder fails to deliver more documents to Congress.
“If you asked me a few hours ago, I probably would have said yes,” the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Tuesday night when asked if he agreed that Holder should resign.
But Grassley said he’s “open” to Holder’s “so-called negotiation” proposal to provide more details and documents to Congress about the bungled effort to track gun-running activities among Mexican drug cartels.
“He should be held in contempt if he doesn't give us this information because he’s taking contemptible action against the Congress,” Grassley added.
When pressed to be more specific on his reason for not joining Texas Sen. John Cornyn in his call for Holder’s resignation, Grassley said: “If you are asking me why I would not call for resignation right now, I think I ought to keep as much credibility as I can to see what can be negotiated.”
“But I have a very short leash on that,” he continued. “I am not willing to give very much. They have got to show within a week or two that they are willing to cough up the documents or, I say, go to contempt, and at that point, I would be willing to say resign, because you haven't negotiated in good faith.”
Grassley also stressed that firing Holder might delay the turnover of additional information even longer.
“I’m not sure I want to negotiate with a new attorney general . . . I want to see what we can get down to the bottom of right now,” he said.
The senator also defended House Government Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s efforts to get more out of the Justice Department, which Grassley said has so far turned over only a small number of documents known to exist about Fast and Furious.
“Everything that is out there, Congressman Issa deserves credit for. Because without the [chairman’s] subpoena power, I doubt we would have any of this information,” Grassley said.
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