Likelihood of contempt vote against Eric Holder rises

WASHINGTON – A Republican House committee chairman said Tuesday he is prepared to follow through on a contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder unless the Justice Department provides Congress with documents on a flawed gun-smuggling probe.

The likelihood of a contempt vote today rose after Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Holder failed to reach agreement in a 20-minute mHolder told reporters he would not turn over documents about the gun-smuggling probe called Operation Fast and Furious unless Issa agreed to another meeting.

The attorney general said he would explain what is in the materials at that time. Holder wants an assurance from Issa that the transfer of the records would satisfy a subpoena from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee of which Issa is chairman.

“We have offered to make materials available, documents available ... to brief on those documents, to answer any questions that might come up with regard to the documents that we produced,” the attorney general said.

“The ball’s in their court,” Holder said. “We made what we thought was an extraordinary offer.”

Issa took a different view: “After this meeting I cannot say that I am optimistic” for avoiding a contempt vote, he said.