Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee say the Justice Department’s defense of Eric Holder is inadequate and it dodges a real question behind the agency scandal: What role did the nation’s leading law enforcer play in the agency’s surveillance and records seizure of members of the media?
On May 15, Mr. Holder said he knew nothing of “the potential prosecution” of the press,” Fox News reported. But just a few days later, information emerged that confirmed Mr. Holder was personally involved in the Justice Department’s decision to seize Fox News correspondent James Rosen’s emails, labeling him as a “co-conspirator” in leaked information case.
Mr. Holder was asked to explain this discrepancy to committee members before Wednesday.
On Monday, the Justice Department gave this letter to Republicans on the House committee, Fox News reported: “The Attorney General’s testimony before the committee on May 15 … with respect to the department’s prosecutions of the unauthorized disclosure of classified information as accurate and consistent with these facts.”
But the letter also said: “[Mr. Holder} was consulted and approved the application for the search warrant.” Moreover, the letter to the committee came from a “principal deputy assistant attorney general,” and not from Mr. Holder. Committee members had given Mr. Holder until June 5 to personally explain his May 15 testimony.
Republicans’ response was emphatic: Are we stupid?
“This response is insulting and further proof that Attorney General Holder refuses to hold himself accountable,” Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner said, in the Fox News report. “It is increasingly obvious that Eric Holder has something to hide.”
Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte spoke similarly, in Fox News.
“[The] response from the Justice Department’s Office of Legislative Affairs raises more questions than it answers,” Mr. Goodlatte said, in Fox News. “By having a subordinate send this response rather than Attorney General Holder himself, this response begs the question of whether Holder has something to hide.”
Mr. Goodlatte also said, Fox News reported: “Discrepancies in Attorney General Holder’s congressional testimony made on the record need to be corrected on the record to Congress by Attorney General Holder himself.”