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White House Dismisses New Criticism of Attorney General Holder

Monday, 03 Jun 2013 07:27 PM

The White House on Monday dismissed a new round of criticism of Attorney General Eric Holder over whether he lied under oath and mishandled leak probes that have focused on reporters.

Holder's credibility has been called into question over allegations from Republicans that he failed to tell the truth in testimony to the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee about the Justice Department's secret subpoena of journalist phone records.

Holder told the committee on May 15 that he was not involved in the potential prosecution of a reporter under the Espionage Act. Reports later surfaced that he had personally signed off on the search warrant for the records of Fox News reporter James Rosen.

Adding to the furor over Holder, who has been Obama's attorney general since the president took office in early 2009, was a New York Times article on Sunday that said some in the White House had privately told associates that they wish Holder would resign.

But White House officials said Obama supports Holder, who has faced a number of controversies over the years that the administration has blamed on Republican partisan maneuvering.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough issued a statement in which he said Obama and his team "believe that the attorney general has the intellect, experience and integrity to efficiently run the Department of Justice and not get distracted by the partisans who seem more interested in launching political attacks than cooperating with him."

Republicans shrugged off the criticism from the White House and insisted Holder has to provide some answers.

"I think that Eric Holder has damaged his credibility, and I think he should ask himself whether he's really effectively serving the president of the United States. Clearly there's been some contradictory statements," Republican U.S. Senator John McCain told NBC's "Today" show.

Holder has been trying to assuage concerns from the news media that Justice Department leak probes have gone too far and are running counter to First Amendment freedom of press guarantees outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

Last week he held a private meeting with leaders of several news organizations. More such meetings are planned.

A former press secretary for Obama, Robert Gibbs, said Holder needs to do more than hold private meetings but doubted he would be leaving his job soon.

"He is going to serve as long as the president wants him to, and I think there is certainly no evidence that the president wants him to leave so I don't expect  (him) to go anywhere," Gibbs told MSNBC on Monday.

However, he added, "I think it would really behoove the Department of Justice and the attorney general to come out and explain the rationales behind these investigations."

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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The White House on Monday dismissed a new round of criticism of Attorney General Eric Holder over whether he lied under oath and mishandled leak probes that have focused on reporters. Holder's credibility has been called into question over allegations from Republicans that...
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2013-27-03
Monday, 03 Jun 2013 07:27 PM
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