Issa says Holder can still avoid contempt vote if he cooperates with House GOP

His committee is looking for deliberations within the department after it told Congress in February of 2011 that its Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not knowingly allow assault weapon sales to organized crime elements in Mexico.

“If those documents say what Eric Holder says they say, we might, in fact, dismiss contempt in — in either case. But I can tell you one thing here. If we get documents that do show — cast some doubt or allow us to understand this, we'll at least delay contempt and continue the process,” Issa said on ABC News’s “This Week.”

“We only broke off negotiations when we got a flat refusal to give us information needed for our investigation,” Issa added.

President Obama has declared executive privilege over internal Justice Department deliberations, the first time he has done so to fend off a congressional investigation. Issa said House Republicans would send a letter to the administration on Sunday or Monday refuting the privilege claim.

“Better scholars than myself are, in fact — have prepared a letter — we'll send it out probably today or tomorrow — that breaks down the points of why the president's executive privilege claim is either overbroad or simply wrong,” Issa said.