Last-minute effort to avert Eric Holder contempt vote fails

Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday admitted his department's initial letter to Congress denying "gunwalking" was inaccurate. CBS News Investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson has more.

Fast and Furious: What did AG Holder know?
(CBS News) Administration officials and staff of House Republican lawmakers attempted, but failed, to reach an agreement to stave off Thursday's contempt vote against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

The Department of Justice and House Republicans have been at a stalemate regarding documents pertaining to Fast and Furious, the failed federal gun-smuggling operation that resulted in guns landing in the hands of Mexican cartels. President Obama granted executive privilege over the documents last week, which provides protection from Congressional inquiry. Republicans have said the action calls into question the White House's role and if it is participating in a cover up.

A senior administration official said the White House officials "reached out" to the staff of House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and provided "a representative sample" of documents in question. The official said the effort "would dispel any notion of an intent to mislead Congress."

But a Republican congressional aide told CBS News that the Republicans rejected the offer because the administration showed fewer than 30 pages of documents and that they wanted the House to put an end to the investigation and cease the threat of contempt before they could see all the documents.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said, "This was a good faith effort to try to reach an accommodation while still protecting the institutional prerogatives of the Executive Branch, often championed by these same Republicans criticizing us right now. Unfortunately Republicans have opted for political theater rather than conduct legitimate Congressional oversight."

The contempt vote scheduled for Thursday comes a week after the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee charged Holder with contempt for not complying with a subpoena related to gun smuggling operation.

CBS News' complete coverage of the Fast and Furious investigation.

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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