Holder to Meet With Judiciary Committee Over Testimony on Leaks

Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 10:01 AM

By Todd Beamon

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Attorney General Eric Holder has agreed to meet with House Republicans in their probe into whether he misled Congress or acted inappropriately in the Justice Department’s investigation of leaks to media outlets, Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said.

By agreeing to meet with the House Judiciary Committee, Holder staved off the threat of a subpoena from Goodlatte, the panel’s GOP chairman, for a second time in as many weeks, The Hill reports.

Urgent: Is Obama Telling the Truth on IRS, Benghazi Scandals?

Goodlatte is investigating whether Holder misled the Judiciary Committee last month when he testified that, under his leadership, Justice has never sought to prosecute Fox News reporter James Rosen.

GOP legislators contend that Holder’s testimony differs from a warrant application he personally signed citing Rosen as a criminal co-conspirator in Justice’s investigation of an alleged leak of classified information from a former State Department contractor.

“We have agreed to afford the attorney general the opportunity to fully answer the original questions we sent him regarding his May 15th testimony before the House Judiciary Committee and to meet with him so he can further clarify the actions of the Justice Department regarding the search warrant they obtained for reporter James Rosen’s emails,” Goodlatte told the Hill on Friday.

“The American people and Congress deserve answers on this important matter and accountability from Attorney General Holder,” he added. “We expect to have all our questions answered completely.”

The Judiciary Committee is also investigating disclosures that Justice secretly obtained telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press.

The session, which has not yet been scheduled, seeks to hold the attorney general accountable for his actions in the Rosen case, the AP matter, as well as the botched Operation Fast and Furious gun-running scheme that resulted in the deaths of two federal agents, two GOP committee members said late Friday.

“He was under oath,” Rep. Darrell Issa of California told Sean Hannity on Fox News regarding Holder’s Rosen testimony. “What he said was not correct. He’s since ‘corrected’ the record. That’s not acceptable to me. Certainly, he knew and said things that he shouldn’t have said.”

Also interviewed by Hannity, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah specifically cited Fast and Furious as an example of the Obama administration’s refusal to hold its appointees accountable.

“The explosion here was the fact that, under Department of Justice letterhead, they totally misled and lied to Congress. The attorney general can’t just hide under his lieutenants,” Chaffetz said.

“Fast and Furious has not gone away. We have not gotten to the bottom of it. He can’t have it both ways — and he certainly misled Congress.”

Under the scheme, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers between 2006 and 2011, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartels.

Instead, the effort led to the deaths of two federal agents and hundreds of Mexican nationals.

Last June, the House of Representatives found Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over more than 1,500 pages of Justice documents related to Fast and Furious.

In congressional testimony in May 2011, the attorney general said that he had heard of Fast and Furious for the first time “over the last few weeks.”

Chaffetz on Friday called for a special prosecutor to handle both the AP and Rosen cases.

“There’s a degree of objectivity that needs to get into the bowels of what is going on in the administration and the Department of Justice,” he said.

Issa, who is also chairman of the House Oversight Committee, praised Goodlatte and added that it was critical for Congress to do its job in effectively investigating the scandals.

“Will Republicans leading the House of Representatives, will we do our job — and, candidly, will the Senate begin doing its job?” Issa asked. “But I think the big question that the American people are asking is, ‘Will we hold this administration accountable? Will we put honesty and accountability ahead of the convenient agenda of the president?’”

Urgent: Is Obama Telling the Truth on IRS, Benghazi Scandals?

Earlier this year, Goodlatte nearly subpoenaed Holder on a separate matter dealing with the Judiciary Committee’s access to the administration’s legal justification for killing American terrorists abroad.

The panel was eventually granted access to the documents, the Hill reports.


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