Republicans in Washington, who have been after Attorney General Eric Holder’s head for years, bashed him on the Sunday morning talk shows yesterday, with one Republican suggested that his handling of the investigation into a Fox News reporter has so destroyed the trust of the American people that it will take an entire generation to repair.
While Democrats continue to defend the attorney general, Republicans are confirming they have launched a probe into whether Holder committed perjury in testimony to Congress.
The investigation concerns Holder’s involvement in approving a search warrant for email and phone records of reporter James Rosen, who is described as a “co-conspirator” in the warrant.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said there was concern that Holder wasn’t truthful during testimony before the committee in May.
“It is fair to say we’re investigating the conflict in his remarks. Those remarks were made under oath, but we also think it’s very important that the attorney general be afforded the opportunity to respond, so we will wait to pass judgment on that until we receive his response,” the Republican congressman from Virginia said on “Fox News Sunday.”
The committee sent Holder a letter Wednesday asking for him to respond by this Wednesday.
While Holder said under oath that he was never involved in the subpoena of news media phone records, later reports revealed Holder did sign off on a decision to approve a search warrant of Rosen’s phone and email records.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn said her constituents in her Tennessee district “feel betrayed” by Holder, who has “lost the trust of the American people.
But Holder had the confidence of two Democrats, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
“There have been all kinds of accusation, but I haven’t seen anything that would prevent him from continuing to do his job,” Schumer said.
“The president has confidence in Holder and I believe he’s going to stay,” he added.
On CBS’s “Face The Nation,” Republican Sen. John McCain wouldn’t say whether he thought Holder had lied, but he said there were “significant contradictions” between what Holder had said and what was later reported.
“I’m not having anything to do with these investigations … But I also think that the attorney general has to ask himself the question, ‘Is he really able to serve the President of the United States and the American people under the present circumstances?'” McCain said. “That’s a decision he’d have to make.”
The Justice Department and the White House have both said Holder’s testimony before Congress was truthful.
The latest Holder controversy comes nearly a year after the House of Representatives voted to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over additional documents beyond the more than 7,600 he has already given to Congress in the botched ATF Fast and Furious Operation. Led by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Black Caucus, 108 members of Congress skipped the vote and staged a walk out in protest of the theatrics.
The measure passed 255-67, with 17 Democrats voting for contempt with the Republican majority and two Republicans, Reps. Steven LaTourette of Ohio and Scott Rigell of Virginia, voting against it. It was the first time in congressional history that the body has voted to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt.
Many observers saw the vote, which was virtually meaningless in terms of its legal bite, as a chance for Republicans to exact revenge on Holder for his outspokenness and his willingness to challenge Republicans on their attempts to restrict voting rights across the country to lower voter participation among people of color.