Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee today that he wants to sit down with congressional leaders to work out a deal on documents related to the botched Fast and Furious gun smuggling operation “to avoid a constitutional crisis.”
Holder, who faces a contempt of Congress vote next week in the House Oversight Committee, testified that he is prepared to make compromises on what documents he would provide in response to congressional subpoenas.
Holder said that he has offered to sit down and negotiate with Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and House Speaker John Boehner to settle the issue.
“I’ve got to have a willing partner,” Holder said. “I’ve extended my hand and I’m waiting to hear back.”
Holder appeared today before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of an oversight hearing. Ranking Minority Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) urged Holder to end the standoff with Issa.
“This constant stonewalling is why the House Committee is forced to move forward with contempt proceedings,” Grassley said. “I urge the Attorney General to show some leadership and to avoid this constitutional stand-off and come clean. I think the American people deserve a better explanation than they have received so far.”
“We learned just last Thursday from the Attorney General’s testimony in the House that the Department has gathered 140,000 pages of documents for its own internal review,” Grassley said. “Yet, the Department has only produced to Congress a mere 7,000 or so pages of documents. That’s just a spit in the ocean.”
Holder dodged questions about whether he would remain attorney general if President Barack Obama won a second term, saying “I think you have to ask President Obama that question.” When asked to predict what he'd say if he were asked to stay on at DOJ, Holder said “this has been the highlight of my career.”
“What my future holds, frankly I’m just not sure,” Holder said.