Priebus demands Holder resign over AP probe
May 14th, 2013
12:33 PM ET
10 years ago

Priebus demands Holder resign over AP probe

(CNN) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder must resign after his agency collected two months of telephone records from reporters at the Associated Press, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday.

"Freedom of the press is an essential right in a free society. The First Amendment doesn't request the federal government to respect it; it demands it," Priebus wrote in a statement Tuesday. "Attorney General Eric Holder, in permitting the Justice Department to issue secret subpoenas to spy on Associated Press reporters, has trampled on the First Amendment and failed in his sworn duty to uphold the Constitution."

Holder has not publicly commented on the Justice Department's seizure of phone records from the AP, and his role in the record collecting has not yet been made clear. The Justice Department has not answered questions about the role of the nation's top law enforcement officer in the subpoenas of the AP's phone records.

"Because Attorney General Holder has so egregiously violated the public trust, the president should ask for his immediate resignation," Priebus wrote. "If President Obama does not, the message will be unmistakable: The President of the United States believes his administration is above the Constitution and does not respect the role of a free press."

Justice Department rules state the attorney general must sign off on subpoenas of members of the news media, though it's possible Holder formally recused himself from the AP case.

The U.S. attorney's office in Washington responded that federal investigators seek phone records from news outlets only after making "every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means." It did not disclose the subject of the probe.

The White House was unaware of the subpoenas, spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday night.

"We are not involved in decisions made in connection with criminal investigations, as those matters are handled independently by the Justice Department," Carney said.

Holder announced in June 2012 that he had assigned two U.S. attorneys to lead investigations into the possible leaking of state secrets, and members of Congress have complained about disclosures of electronic warfare campaigns against Iran, U.S. drone attacks overseas and Obama's personal involvement in "kill lists" of militants in Yemen and Pakistan.

Filed under: Eric Holder • Reince Priebus • RNC
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Didn't Congress ask Holder to investigate and stop leaks of classified information? I don't think that the head of the Democrats asked for any Attorney General to resign when it came to warrentless wire taps or anything else of that nature. What is the difference here?

    May 14, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. ST

    Priebus should understand that the government elected to take all the duties, are not there for just sitting and pulling their checks in like what the present congress does. They are there to work. If he doesn't like what they do, he has no right to tell them to go because, he is not the one who put them in power.

    May 14, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    No doubt Mr. Priebus is also calling for all sitting members in Congress who originally approved the Patriot Act back in 2001 giving the FBI full authority to legally issue these so called "secret" supoena's to resign as well.

    Indeed. I am absolutely sure that helping to elect those in favor of eliminating the Patriot Act althogether will be Mr. Priebus' (and the media's) number one priority come 2014.

    May 14, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. Safejourney

    Reince Priebus , take out the vowels and you have RNC PRBS, That is exactly what Reince represents.

    May 14, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. Thatguy

    So much liberal butthurt in these posts. Maybe someday you people will realize that this isn't a liberal/conservative or repub/dem issue. It is a big government issue. The newest IRS developments only solidify this. So please be good sheep and continue to point fingers while your right s are stripped away before your very eyes.

    May 14, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. Donna

    Holder should have been fired or resigned years ago. Fast & Furious resulting in the death of Americans and countless Mexicans. Letting the New Black Panthers walk. Refusing the defend the laws of the nation. Now an attack on the freedom of the press. Is this incompetent imbecile the best this country can do???

    May 14, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. John

    Does anyone care what Priebus thinks? 99% of the country does not know who he is and the other 1% doesn't care!

    May 14, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. sonny chapman

    Republican Indignation; it's so Noble.

    May 14, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. Boo

    Hey Preibus....I wish you and the rest of the GOP would take a nice long walk off a short pier.

    May 14, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    Aww, where's all the hatred from the right about the corrupt, inept, union toady ignorant inhabitant of the WH, who doesn't belong there in the first place. The whole corrupt administration should be forced to resign. They are nothing but union thugs that got where they are due to affirmative action. And they stole the election from the rightful POTUS, Willard Mittens Robmey.

    Come on RWNJ's I need a laugh today!!!!

    May 14, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Nonsensical

    RNC chair is a joke.

    May 14, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. DENNA

    Does he now? And what, pray tell, makes old Rancid Peaches think that anyone cares what he says? This bloated moron should shut up. It is hard to take the Republicans seriously when America is STILL trying to dig out from the mess W caused – yes I went there. The stock market is up, and jobs are slowly coming back. We are clawing our way out so we don't need ANY GOP hack to give advice. Relax, the GOP will get another shot at destroying America.

    May 14, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Moderate Sean

    Reince Preibus is a complete tool! He has no business leading a nursey rhyme to be honest. The man has absolutely no credibility. When you have little or no facts, you cannot demand anything. Let the investigation go where it leads vs doing your typical political nonsense and pre-judging for your party's gain.

    May 14, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
1 2