Washington (CNN) – Attorneys for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and for the Justice Department told a federal judge in Washington Tuesday they have begun settlement talks on the lawsuit which seeks to force Attorney General Eric Holder to give the committee certain documents related to the "Fast and Furious" gun trafficking operation.
The lawyers told U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson they had just begun the talks, and did not know whether they would make any progress.
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At a brief, sparsely attended hearing in Washington the judge said she would make no comments and issue no rulings on the merits of the arguments brought by attorneys for committee Chairman Darrell Issa, and by Justice Department lawyers asking her to dismiss the committee's lawsuit.
After an event in Connecticut Tuesday morning, Holder told CNN "I think there is a deal that can be struck" regarding documents which the Obama administration has withheld under executive privilege. If no deal is reached, Holder said "we'll continue to litigate the case."
"We are prepared as we indicated many months ago to try to strike a deal to come up with a way which we could try to satisfy the legitimate oversight request that Congress has made understanding that there is the need for a privilege, the ability for us in the executive branch to speak candidly with one another," he said.
There was no immediate comment from the committee, which is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California.
Jackson scheduled a hearing for January 10th to discuss the status of the talks and other procedural issues.
"Fast and Furious" was the name for a controversial gun sting that allowed "gunwalking," where hundreds of weapons reached violent Mexican drug cartels.
It was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 2009 and came to the public's attention after guns linked to the program were found at the site where a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed.
The dispute results from the Justice Department's refusal to turn over certain documents related to the aftermath of the Justice Department's letter to Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, in which top officials said there had been no instances of such gun trafficking.
But weapons did ultimately ended up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels. The Justice Department several months later withdrew the letter, and admitted gunwalking had occurred.
– CNN's Raelyn Johnson contributed to this report
Why didn't the media more-aggresively question and pursue explanation for Obama's use of executive privilege? Much to clean up from day 1 huh? what about the use of non-approved advisors (czars) in the W.H.? What classified info did these people have access to while in the W.H. without congressional oversight or knowledge of who these eople were/are? Lack of transparency=something to hide, and that something is usually NOT good.
...............Hey.............it's SNOWING.............................Obama's fault...............
why do you think obama had planned to appoint deval patrick for the A.G. post after re-election? why was his mind chan ged? why did holder agree to stay on just another year? so many things to examine.
maybe congress and justice dept wants to use this as leverage to get at deval patrick and/or something benghai related?
obama using executive order to hide something - obam is hiding who was housed in benghazi annex - congress and obama know who was imprisoned in annex and obama is not explaining why there was a prison there - and why it wasnt better secured if the detainees were held for any variety of national security reasons?
obama is not going to get the free passes this go around given him during the first four years - too many scaring things being revealed?