May 31st, 2013
07:48 AM ET
2 years ago

Justice Dept. says Holder didn't lie before congressional committee

(CNN) – Attorney General Eric Holder's sworn testimony before lawmakers this month was "accurate and consistent with the facts," a Justice Department spokesman stressed late Thursday.

Holder's statements at the May 15 hearing of the House Judiciary Committee have come under scrutiny from congressional Republicans, who are looking into whether the attorney general lied under oath earlier this month when he said he wasn't involved in the "potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material."

"That is not something I've ever been involved in, heard of, would think would be wise policy," Holder said at the hearing.

It has since been reported that Holder signed off on the Justice Department's decision to seek a search warrant for Fox News reporter James Rosen's private e-mails. The affidavit used to obtain that warrant said there was probable cause the reporter had broken the law when he solicited classified information from the government source.

"The media reports and statements issued by the Department regarding the search warrants for Mr. Rosen's emails appear to be at odds with your sworn testimony before the Committee," wrote Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, in a letter to Holder Wednesday.

MORE: Media execs tell Holder reporters need freedom to do their jobs

"It is imperative that the Committee, the Congress, and the American people be provided a full and accurate account of your involvement in and approval of these search warrants," read the letter from Goodlatte, who also requested Holder answer a series of questions on the matter by June 5.

An FBI affidavit used to obtain the warrant for Rosen's e-mails said there was probable cause the reporter had broken the law when he allegedly received a leaked classified report from a State Department contractor named Stephen Kim. The affidavit described Rosen as potentially being an "aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator" to the crime of disclosing government secrets, opening up criticism that the Obama administration was targeting Rosen.

However, the Justice Department did not prosecute Rosen, nor did it file charges against him. While he was listed as a "co-conspirator," that often times does not mean he would be considered a target.

The Justice Department official on Thursday said that prosecutors have never sought to bring criminal charges against Rosen, meaning Holder's testimony was accurate.

"The search warrant application in the Kim matter was focused on obtaining evidence relating to allegations that a government official had leaked highly classified information, which was a threat to our national security," the Justice official wrote. "The warrant application was drafted during the investigation phase of the case, which came before any decisions about prosecution. And nearly three years after completing our thorough investigation of the Kim matter, the Department does not anticipate bringing any additional charges. During the Attorney General's tenure, no reporter has ever been prosecuted."

CNN's Carol Cratty and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Eric Holder • Justice Department
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Guess

    Amount of effort used by gop to pass legislation 0%, amount of effort used to try and politicize everything 100%, time for you losers to be given your walking papers, thats why so much effort is being spent on voter suppresion, ONLY way they can win

    May 31, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  2. pjoe

    Eric Holder lied.

    The rest is spin.

    May 31, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. Sniffit

    @ ThinkAgain

    Indeed. One great example I found today? The Daily Caller (Tucker Carlson's idiot outfit) had an article on the nomination of James Comey to head the FBI. The article described Comey’s role in a highly successful Virginia law enforcement program targeting gun violence through higher penalties, that was supported by the NRA. The headline regarding this former No. 2 and acting head of the Bush Justice Department? “Comey, anti-gun Chicago-trained enforcer, reportedly tapped to run the FBI”. THIS is the insanity we have to put up with and which the rest of the MSM will run with in order to trump up a controversy. That kind of blatant cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy should be ignored, but instead CNN and the rest will treat it as a legitimate concern being voiced by the right wing...all so they can perpetuate the "debate." There's no debate at this point. There's sane people trying to get sane things done versus a bunch of angry, racist, ideologue, self-serving partisan plutocrats trying to mess it all up so they can get rich off it.

    May 31, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. max3333444555

    I think the republicans overreached a bit (or maybe fox did it for them). there is a real issue here but the repubs should have waited before pushing a "lying to congress" angle. the initial scandal was bad enough that it would have eventually escalated on its own.

    May 31, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. l

    You can't be a co-conspirator and not be a suspect. That's a lie all by itself. The Dems just aren't willing to prosecute their own and admit that their side is as bad or worse than the other. That's called a hypocrite.

    May 31, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. l

    Definition of Conspirator for those who don't know the meaning:
    member of group planning illegal act: a member of a group of people planning or agreeing in secret to commit an illegal or subversive act

    May 31, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. mark ducharme

    Justice department, that's a better oxymoron than military intelligents.

    May 31, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. mark ducharme

    hey it depends on what is is, right? lol same concept only we are getting screwed time not monica.

    May 31, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    @Sniffit: "There's this thing called the ACA..a/k/a "Obamacare"...and it requires the IRS to play a very big role in its implementation and administration. The records show THAT is what Schulman was meeting with people at the WH to arrange."

    Yesterday I heard Mark Levin rant on about Shulman's frequent White House visits as "proof" of President Obama's nefarious plot to target tea troll groups and immediately figured out that the visits were because of the IRS' role in Obamacare – the very role the tea trolls have been complaining and spreading lies about!

    The idiocy and cognitive disconnect of the right-wing base never ceases to astound me!

    BTW, as I've posted in the past, while clumsy in execution, the intention of the IRS to check out all these tea trolls groups applying for 501(c)(4) status makes complete sense:

    "Tea" stands for "taxed enough already," and these folks have demonstrated again and again their unwillingness to pay for our nation's infrastructure and societal benefits they so blithely enjoy. They also have nothing but contempt for our government (ditto again on taking it for granted; I suggest they all move to Somalia to gain some perspective). So OF COURSE they are going to try to defraud the IRS and claim they are somehow "social welfare organizations" when what they do is mostly funnel money to political candidates who promote their agenda.

    I hope the IRS finishes the audits against the tea troll groups; I'm betting a very large percentage are in violation of the 501(c)(4) rules.

    May 31, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. Finrod

    The Justice Department can claim until they're blue in the face that Holder didn't lie, but that doesn't change what Holder actually said and did. The longer Holder stays in office, the worse this will get for the current administration. He can either resign or be impeached, but he's leaving office either way.

    May 31, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Centurian4

    If he signed off on it and then said he never heard of it, sounds like a bold face lie..

    May 31, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. wade

    Oh well as long as the liar says so. It is all OK. LOL.....

    May 31, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. oracle

    Holder heads the DOJ. The DOJ spokesperson is backing up her boss.

    In other news, Pablo Escobar's mother says "Pablo was a good boy, and never did anything wrong."

    May 31, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. adam

    Holder said Holder didn't lie. LOL

    May 31, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. sly

    Of course our Attorney General was telling the truth.

    Mr. Holder was investigating media leaks of National Security secrets that could encourage terrorist attacks.

    It appears that the GOP no longer cares if Americans die in terrorist attacks, but us Democrats still care about our National Security.

    Thank you again Mr. President for selecting a man at AG that will not bow to political action groups.

    May 31, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  16. Tea Party Thomas

    If you lie and your fingers are crossed it doesn't count. This socialist has earn a trip to the big house.

    Time to demand honestly in government. Stop voting for the socialist party.

    Rand Paul 2016

    May 31, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. mitchgam

    Facts as always make no difference to Republicans. Be they scientific facts or legal facts.
    All Republicans care about is politics, not this nation or the job they were elected to do.

    Many time prosecutors obtain search warrants based on evidence with no intention of pursuing charges against the person the search warrant is aimed at.

    Either the committee chairperson asking the question has no knowledge, education or experience in legal proceedings and didn't ask his well paid legal consul for advise before asking the question, or he deliberately asked the wrong question to create this controversy.

    The question was about if Mr Holder had any knowledge about possible prosecutions and as none were planed or ever happened, he answered truthfully that he did not.

    If the question had been did he have any knowledge about any search warrants or investigation, then his answer would have been a lie.

    May 31, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. Nick

    Another play on words- and morons like Think Again find this ok. If this were Bush auditing the Occuskum felons and their ilk ONLY- I am certain your view would be very different. And I like the tea Party believe that the top 25% of earners paying 87% of all federal taxes is more then their fair share. But lets just keep on spending and borrowing and wasting as the government does. What the difference, $12T, 17T 20T- at this point its meaningless because it will take a generation or two of incredible economic times to even scratch the surface. You see what that sequester did – LOL- the end of the world is coming because we needed to cut 2% of the budget- laughable libtards as usual.

    May 31, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. Chris

    This administration is a joke. Is it 2016 yet?

    May 31, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. Independent

    Sniffit

    "flies in the face of facts on record"

    Oh really? And what facts support the idea that Holder was involved in or heard about any DOJ intent to actually prosecute reporters for disclosing national security leaks? Use of the word "co-conspirator" in an Affidavit does NOT suffice. That's a huge stretch and the GOP/Teatrolls in Congress know it. They also know that you don't know it, which makes it the perfect time to get you all hopped up on misinformation and baseless accusations.
    _________________________

    Hmmmmm ummmmmm maybe the affidavit that he SIGNED OFF ON!!! You are truly a blind, kool-aid drinking sheep! If you issue an affidavit accusing someone of a crime, you are looking to POTENTIALLY prosecute that said person, in the end they didn't but you don't issue one if you weren't thinking about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. Awestruck

    I swear I can never really fathom the blind, foolish loyalty and hypocrisy of the democrats and liberals. They only believe what Obama tells them – incapable of independent thought. The America hating leftisit communists are like rats being lead by the Pied Piper named Obama – gloadly subscribing to his radical socialist tactics of class warfare and contsant lies. Just think, the freedom that has made this country the greatest in the history of earth would never be if the liberal mental disorder had existed at the time of the Revolutionary war.. Libs are so blind and dumb it is disgraceful, and quitre frankly I am embarrased that liberals even have the nerve to call them selves Americans, all while trying to destroy everything that has made America great.

    May 31, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. pjoe

    Ahhh ... I get it.

    "Justice Dept. says Holder didn't lie BEFORE congressional committee"

    No, he lied DURING the congressional committee meeting.

    May 31, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. Awestruck

    Holder is a liar, Obama is a liar.. Both were caught – yet neither has the courage to admit it. The cowards in office are a disgrace to this country.. All libs should be ashamed, but they lack they independent, cognitive thought and foothold in reality to even understand shame they and DopeBama has brought upon them.

    May 31, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. Awestruck

    I swear I can never really fathom the blind, foolish loyalty and hypocrisy of the democrats and liberals. They only believe what Obama tells them – incapable of independent thought. The America hating leftisit communists are like rats being lead by the Pied Piper named Obama – gloadly subscribing to his radical socialist tactics of class warfare and contsant lies. Just think, the freedom that has made this country the greatest in the history of earth would never be if the liberal mental disorder had existed at the time of the Revolutionary war.. Libs are so blind and dumb it is disgraceful, and quitre frankly I am embarrased that liberals even have the nerve to call them selves Americans, all while trying to destroy everything that has made America great.

    May 31, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. alannathan

    Unless you have a complete disconnect from the Queen's English, you know Eric Holder lied. Look at both his statement to Congress on May 15th and the action he took in 2009. He can't legitimately on one hand say that he was never involved with "the POTENTIAL prosecution of the press," but on the other hand claim that signing a subpoena against a person doesn't set that person up for POTENTIAL prosecution – regardless of whether or not said prosecution occurs. Only the least educated and most gullible buy into Holder's defense. Alan Nathan- Host of Battle Line with Alan Nathan

    May 31, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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