The PJ Tatler

Fast and Furious Showdown this Afternoon

Rep. Darrell Issa is set to meet at 5 pm eastern today with Attorney General Eric Holder regarding Holder’s lack of cooperation with the 16-month-old Fast and Furious probe, and a possible vote of contempt.

Holder, in a letter to Issa delivered Monday, said the Justice 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.”

Until now, Issa, the chairman of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has demanded to see a trove of documents on the controversial Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation — and to know who prepared a now-retracted letter from Feb. 4, 2011, in which the Justice Department claimed the U.S. did not knowingly help smuggle guns to Mexico, including those later found at the murder scene of border agent Brian Terry

Congressional Republicans familiar with the investigation say Issa is under pressure from House Speaker John Boehner to drop the Fast and Furious investigation because Boehner sees it as an election-year distraction that could hurt Republicans at the polls.

A deadly scandal connected to the murders of two US government agents and hundreds of Mexicans, and which the administration may have instigated to undermine US gun rights, is a “distraction”? Then what, in the speaker’s mind, would constitute a legitimate issue? Blood on the hands of the attorney general, at least, would strike most as a legitimate campaign issue never mind the other implications.

Issa, so far, in undeterred.

However, late Monday, Issa wrote Holder back with a strategy of his own. Not only must Holder deliver the roughly 1,300 documents pertaining to the Feb. 4 letter, but he must also produce a description of all the documents he will not produce. Issa says that document log is “essential for the committee to determine whether the department has substantially met its obligations.”

House leaders Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are reportedly not very supportive of a contempt vote. Can’t have a “distraction,” after all.