House GOP Members Launch Holder Perjury Probe

Image: House GOP Members Launch Holder Perjury Probe

Thursday, 30 May 2013 09:19 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Top Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have initiated an investigation into whether Attorney General Eric Holder may have lied to Congress about his involvement in the seizure of a reporter's records.

According to The Hill, Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman James Sensenbrenner sent a letter to Holder Wednesday questioning the truth of assertions he made during a May 15 hearing that he was not involved in or aware of decisions by the Justice Department to potentially prosecute Fox News reporter James Rosen in connection with a leak of national security information.

Related: Goodlatte Tells Newsmax Holder Should Resign

Goodlatte on Wednesday told Newsmax he is "very concerned" about Justice Department efforts to "harass the news media."

The Virginia Republican also reiterates his call for Holder to step down, a demand he first made two years ago during the Fast and Furious controversy.

Goodlatte told Newsmax: "We are very concerned about the Justice Department targeting reporters and using what could be overbroad investigative tools to harass the news media, and we want to make sure they are following the rules. But we are also concerned that Mr. Holder has again contradicted himself and we want to know why that is. We'll wait for an answer to that before we decide what our next step is in terms of committee hearings."

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In their letter, the congressmen wrote: "The media reports and statements issued by the Department regarding the search warrants for Mr. Rosen's emails appear to be at odds with your sworn testimony before the Committee."

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"We believe -- and we hope you will agree -- it is imperative that the Committee, the Congress, and the American people be provided a full and accurate account of your involvement in and approval of these search warrants."

During his May 15 testimony, Holder was questioned about whether the government could prosecute reporters under the Espionage Act of 1917.

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

Related: Ryan Says Holder 'Beyond the Pale'

But media reports have since indicated that federal authorities were considering prosecuting Rosen as a "co-conspirator" for his role in obtaining classified information for a 2009 report about North Korea. Reports also indicated that Holder personally signed off on the search warrant allowing authorities to comb through Rosen's private email account.

The Goodlatte/Sensenbrenner letter continues: "How can you claim to have never been involved in the potential prosecution of a member of the media but you were admittedly involved in discussions regarding Mr. Rosen's email? How can you claim to have never even heard of the potential prosecution of the press but were, at a minimum, involved in discussions regarding Mr. Rosen?"

According to The Hill, Sensenbrenner has already called for Holder to resign or, failing that, for President Barack Obama to fire him.

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