Saying he wants to avoid "an unnecessary Constitutional confrontation," Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday said he remains interested in a sit-down briefing Tuesday morning with congressional Republicans investigating the botched "Fast and Furious" sting operation - but that he wants some Democrats there, too, in order to finalize what he says is an "extraordinary accommodation."
"The department has offered a serious, good faith proposal to bring this matter to an amicable resolution in the form of a briefing based on documents that the committee could retain," asserts Holder, in a letter dated Monday to Darrell Issa(R-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Issa has threatened to hold a vote by his committee Wednesday on a contempt resolution against Holder, asserting the department refused to produce sought-after documents. But last week, Issa offered to delay any such vote if some new documents were produced. Issa also agreed to entertain a Holder request for a direct meeting, but said he wanted Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa - the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee and a critic of Holder - to be in-on such a meeting.
In Holder's letter on Monday, which is sort of a counter-offer, he proposes to Issa they meet at 11 a.m. (it does not specify where). The letter also mentions Issa's intention to bring-in Grassley - "in keeping with the protocols of this investigation." Given that, Holder writes that he also would expect that Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and the House Oversight panel's top Democrat Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) will be included, as well, "in order to finalize our accommodation agreement with the committee and avoid an unnecessary Constitutional confrontation."
There was no immediate comment from Issa's office.