Justice Department, Republicans in talks over 'Fast and Furious' lawsuit
November 27th, 2012
11:42 AM ET
1 year ago

Justice Department, Republicans in talks over 'Fast and Furious' lawsuit

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


Filed under: Justice Department
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Much of what Republicans are asking for would be a crime to release publicly, and they know it.

    November 27, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. DENNA

    The Republicans should just go ahead and put the information on the internet and maybe YouTube too. Hey, what the heck, it will save our enemies the trouble of hiring spies. What the heck is wrong with the GOP????

    November 27, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. just sayin

    >Rudy NYC
    >Much of what Republicans are asking for would be a crime to release publicly, and they know it.

    you mean much of what they are asking for relates to crimes commited by the obama administration that they are now covering up. crimes that have cost hundreds of lives.

    November 27, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. ghostriter

    What is it with republicans? They are really hunting hard. Still.

    This has already been explain. The higher ups were not aware of the operation that was run locally in different forms since 2006. Nothing they have found to date indicates anything more. This is as bad as the other investigations. Rice reported what she was given. The report was changed not by the administration and done so for security reasons. Badly handled, maybe. I really don't see what all the fuss is about. I would think that calling the actions terror pales in comparison to what these same republicans seemed very uninterested in. Like the Pat Tillman story. Now that was a cover up.

    Put to you like this. If you can find anyone that can say otherwise, then let's continue. If not and you just simply refuse to believe what the administration has given you and what your evidence suggests, I question your honesty in holding the hearings.

    November 27, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. judy

    the meeting was sparsely attended because unless repos are getting media coverage they really don't care. They only complain about the administration when they can use the media to try and belittle this president. Like Mc Cain not even showing up for meetings on Bengazi. They have no valid claim

    November 27, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. steve harnack

    I'm wondering, if they really want to get to the bottom of this, why they haven't asked for any of the documents from when the program actually started back in 2005 when Bush and Gonzales came up with the plan?

    November 27, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    just sayin wrote:

    you mean much of what they are asking for relates to crimes commited by the obama administration that they are now covering up. crimes that have cost hundreds of lives.
    ----------
    No, much of what they're asking for amounts to illegal search and seizure. You cannot simply demand the right to rummage through stuff looking for evidence of a crime. You must first identify the crime and a suspect, before you can get a warrant. The Republicans have also demanded documents unrelated to "Fast and Furious" and have refused to accept documents dating back to the Bush administration.

    November 27, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. sonny chapman

    To heck w/Fast & Furious and even Benghazi, we need to REALLY find out how Hillary got away with shooting VINCE FOSTER !!!

    November 27, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  9. Hammerer

    Did you ever ask why the Obama administration would arm the drug gangs in Mexico?
    Lot of cash in drug trade.

    November 27, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. sammieb51

    Oh hello, isn't there something else they need to focus on instead of some "gone-wrong" Bush plan? Like JOBS and the DEBT??? GMAB - how many Republicans does it take to screw in a lightbulb? ZERO and the light won't get changed either!!!

    November 27, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. ghostriter

    Rudy, I believe the congressional oversight committees have a different set of rules involving oversight. They are privy to some info, even classified info, I believe. I don't think there is anything criminal in this. Stupid, yes. Criminal, no. But you are correct in that they have requested info that has nothing to do with F&F and refused to even discuss the operation started under Bush.

    Which is why this witch hunt should have been over by now.

    November 27, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. Larry L

    Republicans have come to believe their only job is to discredit the President. They block all initiatives, spread conspiracies, and even talk about seceding from the United States. If they would simply get to work and give America some honest leadership on solving our economic problems they might have a chance of not getting thrown out of our political process. Stop being lap-dogs for the rich, stop trying to find something to "investigate" in every foreign affairs arena, and stop wasting our time with "personhood" riders on every bill. Get to work and enough with the drama!

    November 27, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. ghostriter

    I wonder if this will end up like the talks from before. Ya know, when Holder offered up the documents in exchange for an end to the circus. Stupid republicans wouldn't budge. Like they would have been powerless to re-open an investigation should they have actually found something.

    November 27, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    The GOP, having nothing to offer our country except policies that are PROVEN FAILURES, once again resort to distraction, lies and fear-mongering.

    If you voted Republican earlier this month, you are just as much a failure when it comes to accountability and critical thinking as the GOP yahoos.

    November 27, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    If Republicans and Issa in particular, were so concerned about the truth regarding Fast and Furious, then why didn't Issa have the ATF field office authorities testify when he held hearings earlier this year?

    *crickets*

    November 27, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. ST

    Wow! The wounded buffalo has charged. It will hit everything which it sees around.

    November 27, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. just sayin

    >Rudy NYC
    >No, much of what they're asking for amounts to illegal search and seizure.
    >You cannot simply demand the right to rummage through stuff looking for evidence of a crime.
    >You must first identify the crime and a suspect, before you can get a warrant. The Republicans
    >have also demanded documents unrelated to "Fast and Furious" and have refused to accept
    >documents dating back to the Bush administration.

    what the heck are you talking about? they have requested documents relating to the fast & furious operation. this is an investigation and the people being investigated do not get to tell the investigators what they can and cannot see and have. you cannot give documents about unrelated matters. those operations were shutdown and their is no relationship to the fiasco the obama adminstration was running. illegal gun running across international borders without the knowledge and cooperation of the other country??? are you kidding?? many crimes were committed. many mexicans and americans are dead as a result of those crimes.

    November 27, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Travis

    @ ThinkAgain
    "If you voted Republican earlier this month, you are just as much a failure when it comes to accountability and critical thinking as the GOP yahoos."

    ...and here I thought it was just the Republicans that were full of hate. Thankfully, I don't subscribe to either party's ideologies.

    November 27, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    just sayin' wrote:

    Among other things, they have demanded personal emails. For example, they've demanded, and received by the way, personal emails that contained the words "fast" and "furious". These would include emails describing football games, which no doubt frustrated Rep. Issa.

    If there were any real substance behind these "False and Frivolous" allegations, trust me, Republicans would have tried to impeach Pres. Obama faster than they did Pres. Clinton. The GOP has had a hair out of place ever since they had a VP resign so he could go to prison, and a POTUS resign so that he would not go to prison.

    November 27, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    Talks mean nothing.

    The criminal remain criminal.

    November 27, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. ghostriter

    just saying, you are incorrect. They do have the right to deny requests. That is what the lawsuit is about. Whether or not the exceptions apply in this case. Otherwise, Holder would be having another type of hearing.

    Maybe you can tell us how two operations, started in the same area, by the same folks, are not related. Even AG Gonzales stated that it was possible that the operation(s) were done without the knowledge of the administration. He should, since Wide Receiver was under his watch.

    This longer ago stopped being about how this happened. This is about why Holder said there was no program and then changed the statement. And that has been explained. There is no evidence that suggests that the operation had the blessings of the administration. 2 years now this has gone on. And you guys have absolutely nothing.

    SO if there were crimes committed, they were also committed before 2009. No point in going back any further though, right? And sorry, anyone killed was not killed because of those weapons. That is the biggest crock I've heard coming from a conservative. Well, not the biggest. But rather interesting since you tend to believe that weapons don't kill people. But by your assertion, those people might still be alive if they didn't get THOSE guns. As if they couldn't get guns elsewhere.

    November 27, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Bobrye777

    If she told them who started the BS about the video, then they should cut her some slack. If she, or the CIA, or the White House or the State Department don't fess up to who started the movie nonsense, then I'm for the Senators ripping them apart. And it doesn't mateer to me if the Senators are Dems or Reps – if the Government purposely misleads its citizens, they should be held accountable. And if the information is/was classified, then simply tell us so. But DO NOT make stuff up – like the movie caused the attacks.

    November 27, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "this is an investigation and the people being investigated do not get to tell the investigators what they can and cannot see and have."

    The party from whom documents are requested always has the right to assert that the documents are confidential or privileged in some fashion...or to argue in simple equity that even if the documents do not fall into a recognized category of privilege, they're release would be seriously damaging and prejudicial. You clearly know nothing. We can argue all day about whether executive privilege is a real privilege or not, but I suspect you're completelyk unprepared for such a discussion given your obvious lack of understanding of threshhold questions.

    November 27, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "if the Government purposely misleads its citizens, they should be held accountable."

    IRAQ HAS WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.

    Your move, Teatrolls.

    November 27, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Lance D.

    The plot thickens - reads better than Bob Woodward's "All the President's Men" - at least it helps make what is unfolding more predictable to media pundents. Rice was not put under oath probably because for the same reason Gen. Petraeus was not. They both "volunteered" to approach Congress versus wait to get subpeonaed. Based on her continued obstinance that mirrors Obama, no doubt Obama recomended that move. It backfired on them because there is no truth behind their intent. They are slowly sinking down in the quick sand of justice. The public can sit back and observe history repeating itself. Psychopaths are not capable of learning from the past, any more than capable of feeling genuine remorse. That one-eyed tear and cold blank stare off into the distance when with the pleading family members of slain americans tells psychiatrists much. Few people trust or feel safe with Obama, except for those in his iner circle who share Obama's psyche. Susan Rice has proven herself such. The American public is slowly beginning to wake up and open its eyes.

    November 27, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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