U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
(CBS News) A meeting between the head of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Attorney General Eric Holder to work out an agreement over documents pertaining to the Fast and Furious case has ended without an agreement being reached. As a result, Rep. Issa has not postponed or cancelled a contempt vote of the attorney general.
Issa told reporters after the meeting, "If we receive no documents, we'll go forward. If we receive documents we will evaluate them."
In a letter to Issa sent later Tuesday evening, Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote, "We regret that the Committee rejected our proposal. Our offer would have provided the Committee with unprecedented access to these documents, many of which are not covered by the Committee's subpoenas in this matter."
Issa and Holder met in an attempt to end a stalemate between Republicans in Congress and the Obama administration over documents pertaining to the Fast and Furious case, the Arizona gunwalking program that put guns in the hands of illicit gun purchasers as a way to track Mexican smuggling cartels. As a result of the program, hundreds of guns showed up in Mexico and one was found at where a U.S. border agent was killed. Issa and his counterpart in the Senate, Charles Grassley, R-Iowa., opened an investigation into the case more than a year ago.
"We're not looking to hold people responsible. We're looking for document production," Issa said.
Issa's committee is looking for documents dating from February to December 2011 on how the Justice Department handled the Fast and Furious case.
Holder says he made Holder an "extraordinary" offer that includes documents, a briefing on those documents and answers to questions Issa and his committee might have.
"The ball is in their court," Holder said. "They rejected what I think is an extraordinary offer."
Senator Grassley, who attended the meeting, tpld CBS News that Issa is right to proceed with contempt vote against Holder.
"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," Grassley said.
Although Issa said the contempt hearing, scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m., is on for now, he left open the possibility that there is still time to cancel the vote.
"The deadline will always be to the last moment," Issa said.