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. Bill

    Get over it Rinse.

    May 14, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Someone needs to tell Mr. Priebus that no laws were broken. In fact, the Patriot Act, which Republicans had praised so highly, is what enables the government to do these sorts of things. Furthermore, the AP has long known that they were under scrutiny because of national security leaks to their organization. The law says the target, the AP in this case, must be informed of the phone records being reviewed, which they were thanks to the Patriot Act.

    Yes, this can be cast into a dark light, but all of it is legal and apparently done for lawful and honest reasons.

    May 14, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. okfine

    Apparently Reince Preibus needs to take a refresher course on just what the government is able to do thanks to the Patriot Act. Maybe the press, AP included, should not have served as cheerleaders when this was being foisted upon us. Now that it is affecting them, it is an outrage. Gotta love it.

    May 14, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "has trampled on the First Amendment and failed in his sworn duty to uphold the Constitution."

    Not if all the proper procedures were followed and a judge issued the warrants. Oh, and hey, would ya look at that? Priebus doesn't know whether that's the case or not...he's just flying off the handle in hopes of manufacturing a narrative that sticks WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE. You can be sure the MSM will help the GOP/Teatrolls on this one though, no matter what the evidence shows....after all, the MSM thought the Patriot Act was only supposed to result in invasions of individuals' privacy rights.

    May 14, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "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"

    Not what the case law says.

    May 14, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. thomase

    Acts passed by republicans are only allowed to be used by republicans. Duh!

    May 14, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. JohnW

    I'm sure he'll take what Priebus has to say under advisement just as much as any other reasonable person would; with an eye roll and muttering "Oh, brother."

    May 14, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    It's pretty fun watching the MSM eat crow after their uncritical support of everything Dubya and the GOP pushed to restrict and attenuate our rights and freedoms in the name of national security after 9/11. Would you like some just desserts after your meal?

    May 14, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. g

    patriot act -freedom killer brought to you by the bush jr

    May 14, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Two words Rinse: Patriot Act.
    Rinse should go towel off. He's all wet.

    May 14, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. Ferret out the BS

    I see another Republican probe coming, probably with Darrel Issa taking the lead. He loves to probe

    May 14, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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
    Possible but not as contentious.

    May 14, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus demands ?

    What is the little sniveler demanding now , a Romney election recount ?

    The joke for the day ,
    What do Reince Priebus and Karl Rove do when there alone together ?
    Fantasize about Ralph Reed !

    May 14, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. 82ndABNVET

    While I am not versed as well as I should be in the legalities of this event..................this just shows that there is another "scandal" under the Obama administration.

    While this may not be the be all end all................this coupled with Benghazi and the IRS targeting of "tea party", "patriot", and "conservative" political action groups............starts to add up and causes a bunch of bad press.

    And then you have Jay Carney up there trying to defend the WH and cast blame away from the President and everyone comming out and saying they were not specifically targeting conservatives. Just makes you think.

    I used to be more liberal than I was conservative. The only thing I was really conservative on was guns. But, I was pretty liberal when it came to being pro-choice, healthcare, domestic spending.........etc. I voted for Obama the first time, and then realized that things were just getting worse and were only going to get more worse.

    When it came to the 2012 election, I decided I couldnt vote for Obama so where was I to turn? Romney? No. I voted 3rd party in protest. Being from a Red state, I knew that no matter how I voted it was going to go for Romeny no matter what. But, that was my way of protesting both major candidates.

    I have found myself realizing that the Democrats are just bringing us down as a nation. Record debt. Ill-concieved health care reform. No guts when it comes to dealing with countries around the world (Iran, Syria, China, and North Korea). Wanting illegals from Mexico to just flood our streets to ensure there will be enough votes to keep the Republicans from ever winning the Presidency again.

    Sure, every Presidency has its "scandals".......but for the self described "most transparent" administration ever...........its funny to see all these scandals comming out from nowhere. Once the election was over and everyone had time to breath...........all this comes out.

    If you would just be truthful with the American people. If you would just punish those that break the law or impead investigations like you should, instead of just tapping them on the hand and saying "Dont ever do that again".....

    May 14, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. Data Driven

    Meh. Not unprecedented: Father Abraham confiscated telegrams and raided telegraph offices during the Civil War. In any case, Patriot Act, etc.

    "Freedom isn't free" - something like that. By the way, feel free, Media, to not breathlessly report each and every harangue from political hacks.

    May 14, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  16. wwf

    The GOP. The gift of idiots that just keeps on giving. Another witch hunt. What about the issues all of you so called leaders ran on. Jobs? Oh, they are looking up. Dam Obama. Like it or not, that is "President Obama" to all of you tea so called tea patriots.

    May 14, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    I'm sure libs will defend their messiah and his administration and trash the rights of Americans even more.

    Pied Piper

    May 14, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    I LOVE watching liibs spin Ha ha ha

    May 14, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Relentless these people are aren't they?
    It appears that "hanging" one Black man is just as good as another to these folks.
    They can't get anything on the President in this press cycle so let's go after Holder.
    They remind me of pit bulls but I when look at them all I see are yapping, annoying, little Chihuahuas.

    May 14, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. John from Brooklyn

    As a Democrat, I find myself agreeing. He should go. We are BETTER than the GOP's Patriot Act and we should hold ourselves to a higher standard. Mind you, it's not humanly possible to hold ourselves to a LOWER standard on civil liberties issues than the previous administration.

    May 14, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. Vic

    What Priebus feels is irrelevant. What this should demonstrate is that with every law, with every regulation, with every incremental increase in government (be it Republicans or Democrats), Americans lose a degree of freedom. Unfortunately, most will only reflect on it from a partisan perspective rather than be pragmatic. In doing so, we avoid accountability and nothing changes.

    May 14, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Bringing up issues of a previous administration shows how desperate these people really are and how much they care about this president and the administration over the country.

    Anti-Patriots/anti-Americans is what they are.

    May 14, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. Alan

    Okay – here's the deal Priebus, We will give you Holder, if you, Boehner, McConnell, Ryan, Issa, and Cantor all resign.

    May 14, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. Rick McDaniel

    The corrupt never resign.

    May 14, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. talldarkfree

    You would think Preibus has something "better" to getting his clown show ready for the road in 2014

    May 14, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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