Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder today expressing “great concern” about the possibility that Holder lied under oath during his testimony earlier this month on the Justice Department’s seizing of journalists’ records, CBS News has learned.
On May 15, Holder told the committee he wasn’t involved in “the potential prosecution” of a member of the press under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information. “This is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy,” he said.
Shortly thereafter, reports began to surface that the Justice Department, in addition to seizing telephone and email records of Associated Press reporters, had seized the the emails and phone records of Fox News correspondent James Rosen. While Holder had recused himself from the AP proceedings, the Washington Post reported that the attorney general had personally signed off on the search warrant for Rosen’s records.
In the search warrant, the FBI called Rosen a “criminal co-conspirator” and suggested there’s probable cause that he violated federal law. Rosen was not charged with any crime.
House Judiciary Republicans, in their letter, raise the possibility that Holder perjured himself by issuing an ironclad denial of any involvement in the investigation and potential prosecution of reporters. “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,” they wrote. “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.”
The White House defended Holder on Wednesday, with press secretary Jay Carney saying it was “self-evident” that Holder told the truth. “I think based on what he said, he testified truthfully,” Carney said. “The attorney general talked about prosecution,” he explained, while the case in question was completed with no further charges or prosecution slated.
Read more at CBS NEWS.