The meeting between Attorney General Eric Holder and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa has ended after 20 minutes of discussion. Holder came with an offer of a briefing on Fast and Furious documents, but did not physically turn over any documents. This is unsatisfactory to Issa who has said repeatedly that in order for Holder to avoid a contempt vote Wednesday at 10 AM, he must hand over 1300 Fast and Furious documents to the Committee.
"The documents they may choose to give in the future, we need before tomorrow," Issa said to reporters. "“Ultimately the documents needed for postponement seem to be in their possession.”
Holder's failure to produce documents at the 5 PM meeting come after he failed to present them by this morning as requested, after he failed to respond to an October 2011 subpoena as requested and after more than a year of requests for transparency surrounding his role in Operation Fast and Furious.
Issa said there is a chance Holder would submit the requested documents tonight but that a contempt vote is still scheduled for Wednesday and has released an official statement.
“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. 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.
“While I still hope the Department will reconsider its decision so tomorrow’s vote can be postponed, after this meeting I cannot say that I am optimistic. At this point, we simply do not have the documents we have repeatedly said we need to justify the postponement of a contempt vote in committee.”
Senator Charles Grassley, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, also issed a statement:
“The Attorney General wants to trade a briefing and the promise of delivering some small, unspecified set of documents tomorrow for a free pass today. He wants to turn over only what he wants to turn over and not give us any information about what he’s not turning over. That’s unacceptable. I’m not going to buy a pig in a poke. Chairman Issa is right to move forward to seek answers about a disastrous government operation.”
During remarks to reporters from Attorney General Eric Holder, he said he made an offer to Issa and the Oversight Committee to make these things [Fast and Furious documents] available and blamed politics for the looming contempt vote. He said the vote will move forward due to Issa "rejecting his extraordinary offer." His offer, in short, was to brief the Oversight Committee on documents they've already requested be handed over.
"They are acting more in political gamesmanship than trying to get the information they say they need," Holder said. "Ball's in their court."
Holder also said there is no effort by his Department to mislead or deceive Congress in their Fast and Furious investigation.
"We need the documents, not the briefing," Issa said.