June 2nd, 2013
12:34 PM ET
10 years ago

Republicans still questioning Holder's comment on leak investigations

(CNN) - Republicans pushed forward in their criticism of Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday, standing by a new investigation of his comments at a congressional hearing about leaks.

Holder has come under fire for saying in the May 15 grilling on Capitol Hill that he has never been involved with the "potential prosecution of the press," despite signing off on a 2010 warrant application that listed a Fox News reporter as a "co-conspirator" for receiving classified material from a government official.

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"With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I've ever been involved in or heard of or would think would be a wise policy," Holder said.

Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are focusing on that comment, now that the Justice Department has acknowledged it tracked Fox reporter Jay Rosen's e-mails and movements in and out of the State Department. The decision to apply for the search warrant was vetted at the department's highest levels, including Holder, a Justice Department official said.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, for example, said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that Holder's comments amount to "a lie, by most people's standards."

The Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee announced last week it is now looking into whether Holder lied under oath when he made that statement, which came before news of the Justice Department's monitoring of Rosen but after news that the department had subpoenaed phone records of Associated Press reporters.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the judiciary committee, said Sunday it's giving Holder until Wednesday to "answer some very pointed questions about the conflict between his testimony under oath."

"Those remarks were made under oath," he said on "Fox News Sunday." "But we also think it's very important that the attorney general be afforded the opportunity to respond. So we will wait to pass judgment on that until after we receive his response - unless, of course, he's not forthcoming with that."

On the same program, Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen said the "whole thing reeks of hypocrisy."

"It wasn't that long ago you had Republicans on Capitol Hill and a lot of folks on Fox going after the Obama administration saying, 'You're not getting to the bottom of these national security leaks.' It was nonstop for a while. Then the administration goes after these national leaks and people say, 'Oh, you can't do that,'" he said.

Asked Sunday whether he thinks Holder lied, Issa said, "It would be kind to say he misled Congress."

"It would be less kind and more accurate to say that would rise to be a lie by most people's standards," the House oversight committee chairman told CNN's chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley. "By the American people's standard, you don't sign a warrant and then pretend you wouldn't know about it."

"One of the things about perjury, this is the attorney general. Don't use perjury lightly," he added. "Perjury is a criminal charge that has to be proven. But certainly it's hard to have confidence in what this attorney general says or his people say, when so often it turns out not to be true."

Issa pointed to "Fast and Furious," the botched firearm program in Mexico run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, saying Holder still hasn't provided answers about the controversy.

"This attorney general maliciously covered up and will not give us the facts as to when Congress was lied to in the Fast and Furious case," he said. "So now when he does something similar, tries to cover up his tracks potentially as to a warrant he signed, am I surprised? No."

Sen. John McCain also expressed a lack of confidence in Holder.

“The Attorney General has to ask himself the question, ‘Is he really able to effectively serve the president of the United States and the American people under the present circumstances?’ That’s a decision he’d have to make,” McCain said on CBS’ “Face The Nation.”

The 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.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that no prosecution ever took place in the case involving Rosen and Fox News, and therefore it was "self-evident" that any charge Holder lied to the House panel was "inaccurate."

Implying that Republicans were playing politics on the matter, Carney said reporters should "be careful not to conflate facts with statements by members of Congress about what they want to be true." Pressed further, he added that reporters were "conflating a subpoena with prosecution."

Asked if Obama still had full confidence in the attorney general, Carney replied: "He absolutely does, yes."

The Justice Department also released a statement late Thursday night, saying Holder did not lie in his May 15 testimony and that his comments were "accurate and consistent with the facts." An official 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."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Eric Holder • IRS • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    Holder is a corrupt AG. Plain and simple. many people would be totally shocked by a totally secret project going on in the DOJ, that still has not been revealed.

    June 2, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. pat

    Oh wait, I forgot, It's all Bush's fault, right? HOPE – They don't know & CHANGE – The subject! (t-shirts coming soon)

    June 2, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Anthony... proud tax payer

    "receiving classified material from a government official."
    So Holder is doing his job in protecting the nations security, is he not?

    Where did all those Bush Patriots go, who were all for Gov playing its role, and who were fine with all those freedoms we forfeited through the Patriot Act?

    June 2, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Che G.

    Nice to see Republicans who are laser focused on job creation and securing our borders.

    June 2, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. PJ

    This bogus 'outrage' by the Republicans is just a continuance of their jealousy and hate for our President.
    Two words come to mind: Roberto Gonzales – read his bio.
    My questions to these haters are:
    1. By what standard it is okay for the leaker, Kim, to be tried for treason, but the Faux News guy can
    reveal the information without consequences? Both put people in harm's way. Van Hollen is right: Hypocrisy.
    Republicans demanded an investigation – but they don't like their own rules? Too bad.
    2. Why no money for storm stricken Americans, education, infrastructure- which would produce jobs, etc.
    but there is plenty to have multiple Committees, asking the same questions, to the same people?

    June 2, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. Burt Bungle

    Whereas dems don't care about perjury as long as their guy does it

    June 2, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. BlueAlliance

    Did Candy Crowly ask John McCain about posing with terrorists in Syria and undermining the president of the united states by going there.... course not, John McCain gets a pass by the doting press! If that had have been a democrat doing that to a republican president – we would have a special prosecuter appointed right away! Why does the press overlook everything these GOP operatives do......why??? The GOP can do whatever they want to do beacause they support big money and big money rules this country.

    June 2, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. JohnK

    If it's classified it's off limits to the media, period. Now if the broad net needs to be thrown, it needs to start internally in order to find the source of the leak and then it can be expanded to the person(s) in the media. But certainly not a wide net thrown at the media to find the source of the leak in the government. Just admit it, clean it up, and move on. The GOP needs to stand down and start legislating otherwise this Congress will go down in History as the worst one since the last.

    June 2, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. jimmy

    The state-run media will wash away his sins and he will be cleansed in the glory of liberalism.

    June 2, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. Bib Boogg

    Nixon was impeached simply for breaking and entering.

    June 2, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. Oh For Pete's Sake!

    When the AG "Maliciously" refused to give up the relevant information that proved he lied – Obama was there to use executive privilege to help him DO that.

    June 2, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. king

    didn't holder said he wasn't going to prosecute any journalist, imagine their is a mole high up in the north Korean leadership, and here is the press leaking that information. i am sorry folks but that would boil my blood hotter than pepper, someone in the press was going down. but that why i am not the president or eric holder. few month ago the repubs were irate about the leakage of sensitive information to the press, even sayinig that the Obama administration was leaking them because the information benefited the dems. what on earth happened, all of a sudden the repubs are saying that the attorney general should allow the press to leak national security leaks, what is going on here folks.

    June 2, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Yon

    Holder said "Potential Prosecution". Did he lie to congress or the judge? I say he lied to both!

    June 2, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. Name

    And in just a few minutes we're going to have the Obama haters out in full force.

    June 2, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. dirksterdude

    I wonder if he remembers every piece of documentation? Perjury requires intent. If you're actually ignorant then you didn't lie, but you're still responsible. Take your pick of which is worse I suppose. I doubt he remembers every document that crosses his desk.

    June 2, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  16. Marie

    Seems the biggest war Americans are supporting financially are the lame butt politicians war. Take a good look at yourselves....both Democrats and Republicans. You all should go to corners and wear dunce hats. Seems none of you have graduated out of kindergarten. The world is laughing at you and that includes most Americans.

    Take those blinders off and look around at what you all are doing to this country.

    June 2, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. aacon

    Wish congress would act on the economy with the zest they do attacking the White House.We`d be crazy to put the ones elected in now back in office come their election.

    June 2, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. Sane American

    It is time for the press to hold Obama and his Agency Heads accountable and stop making excuses for them. Issa is correct in saying from the general populace point of view, the man lied before Congress. Another point to be made is that with the IRS mess, from the general populace point of view the laws have been broken. Quite trying to candy coat it, get to the bottom of things, and put some people in prison.

    The bottom line with all of the most recent issues with the IRS, DOJ, DHS, and Bengazi, is that no one would want done to them what these agencies have done; and all concerned had best understand that if the Democrats get away with it now, their opponents will have a precedence to point to to simply return the favor.

    In the case of the IRS, our right to be fully informed was compromised in the favor of Obama and the Democrats. In my humble opinion, that is election engineering and no Federal Agency has any business do that. Given Obama's position is administrator over the wayward agencies he is culpable for their ill deeds as he is their ultimate supervisor.

    Finally, the majority of the media are culpable as well in the fact they have been easy on Obama and his administration which has helped create an atmosphere at federal agency level that they would not be scrutinized as Republicans have been in the past.

    If no one goes to jail and all we are left with are promises it won't happen again, 'We The People' can no longer tolerate what is happening in DC or with the media.

    June 2, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. Jules

    If member of the GOP would work just half as hard on legislation as they work on these witch hunts the nation would be doing very well. Instead our government s completely dysfunctional and by in large a disgrace.

    June 2, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. Bill Shippet

    So why aren't independents and democrats going after Holder? Is it just their choice to turn a cold shoulder to the American people?

    June 2, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. Bryan

    Why hasn't Obama fired Holder yet? His becoming a distraction from important things like immigration reform.

    June 2, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. sonnie3

    It is not surprise that obama still can public trust in holder, but behind the scenes I bet obama just don't know how long he can afford a lying Attorney General. The liability for future democrats are front and center. time for heads to roll and holder tops the list.

    June 2, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  23. Anton

    Rethuglican's can't pass anything (even stuff they want).

    But love to be racially motivated...

    Can't wait until the next election for house and senate...

    Time to let the thug's out to pasture.

    June 2, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. CC

    Nothing to see here folks, just another GOP witch hunt.

    June 2, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. Porky Rottenham

    Holder was cut from the same cloth as Republicans. They're made for one another.

    June 2, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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