Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the Democrats’ messaging chief, took a more tempered approach.
“If we find that some high officials are not giving proper information to your investigators, that kind of lack of cooperation might merit a special counsel, but we aren’t at that point yet,” Schumer said in a statement.
Other Republicans backed Boehner’s position.
“Attorney General Holder sounded willing to negotiate over releasing documents. That’s fine if the offer isn’t hollow. We’ve been talking for a year and a half. A show of good faith would be to produce the documents in question,” Senate Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said.
But the two sides seem stuck.
GOP officials have been frustrated by the staff-level talks with the Justice Department because officials “won’t articulate what documents they will release or what portion of documents they’ll release,” a Republican aide said.
The DOJ, noting that Issa has frequently changed the scope of his demands, said the meeting is necessary to nail down exactly what will satisfy the California Republican and what the two parties are agreeing to, whether it is putting contempt off the table permanently or just delaying it.
“I am willing to sit down and talk about the provision of more materials. I have sent letters in that regard, the deputy attorney general has sent letters in that regard, and have not had responses, which leads me to believe that the desire here is not for an accommodation, but for a political point-making,” Holder said.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.