Attorney General Eric Holder has cracked. After initially refusing, Holder has agreed to provide House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa with documents and internal Department of Justice communications related to how the DOJ provided a false statement to Congress and eventually withdrew it.
“[T]he department is prepared to provide documents that, while outside the scope of the committee’s interest in the inappropriate tactics used in Fast and Furious, are responsive to how the department’s understanding of the facts regarding that matter evolved throughout 2011 and how the department came to withdraw its February 4, 2011 letter to Senator Grassley,” Holder wrote to Issa on Thursday. “The department is willing to accommodate the committee’s interest in those materials.”
In the past, Holder has refused to provide those documents to Congress. He has argued that both Republican and Democratic administrations in the past had followed a “tradition” of keeping those types of documents from Congress because they’re “deliberative.”
Now, though, under pressure from both chambers of Congress, and from a scheduled vote to begin contempt of Congress proceedings against him next week, Holder has changed his position. Five U.S. senators, 129 House members, two sitting governors and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney have all demanded his resignation over Operation Fast and Furious.
Holder said he is now providing the documents because Issa narrowed his committee’s subpoena focus to no longer seek “sensitive law enforcement information” about Fast and Furious. It also follows Issa’s announcement that the committee has obtained wiretap applications and other documents through a whistleblower showing that senior DOJ officials knew about gunwalking in Fast and Furious.
In his Thursday letter, Holder said he still thinks “department leadership” was unaware of gunwalking in Fast and Furious until reports of gunwalking surfaced in early 2011. (RELATED: Full coverage of Operation Fast and Furious)
Becca Watkins, a spokeswoman for Issa’s committee, told The Daily Caller that this latest letter from Holder does not mean the committee is satisfied yet.
“The DOJ letter only seems to indicate a willingness to offer a selective telling rather than full disclosure of key events that occurred after February 4, 2011,” Watkins wrote in an email. “We expect the Justice Department to quickly provide necessary details about how it is prepared to alter its opposition to producing subpoenaed documents.”