Attorney General Eric Holder did not commit perjury when he testified before Congress about the potential prosecution of journalists on May 15, a Justice Department staffer told Republican lawmakers Monday.
Unfortunately for Holder, that response wasn’t acceptable to Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, who actually called the response, “insulting.”
The chairmen sent Holder a letter on May 29 expressing concern about the “discrepancy between [Holder’s] sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month and his decision to obtain a search warrant for the emails of James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News,” according to a joint press release from the chairmen.
They gave Holder until June 5 to respond to their questions.
On Monday, Holder’s subordinate Peter Kadzik, the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, responded instead.
In his letter, Kadzik gave the chairmen a very lawyer-like explanation of the difference between an investigation and a prosecution, saying, “We are unaware of an instance when the Department has prosecuted a journalist for the mere publication of classified information.”
Therefore, though Holder signed the search warrant for Rosen’s emails, Holder wasn’t lying when he testified that he wasn’t ever involved in any potential prosecution of a journalist for disclosing classified information.
However, the chairmen are not accepting the response from a “low level staffer.” They said only Holder can answer the questions they specifically asked him and they are sticking to the Wednesday, June 5 deadline for him to do so.
The following statements were published on Sensenbrenner’s website:
Today’s response from the Justice Department’s Office of Legislative Affairs raises more questions than it answers. By having a subordinate send this response rather than Attorney General Holder himself, this response begs the question of whether Holder has something to hide. Discrepancies in Attorney General Holder’s congressional testimony made on the record need to be corrected on the record to Congress by Attorney General Holder himself.
Attorney General Holder still has yet to respond to our letter. He can’t outsource the responsibility for his actions to lower level staff—the buck stops with him. The American people and Congress deserve answers and accountability from Attorney General Holder. The House Judiciary Committee anxiously awaits his response to our May 29 letter by this Wednesday’s deadline.
Subcommittee Chairman Sensenbrenner:
This response is insulting and further proof that Attorney General Holder refuses to hold himself accountable. Not only did the letter come from a low-level staffer at DOJ, not Holder himself, it fails to answer the questions raised by his misleading testimony. Congress and the American people deserve an explanation from the Attorney General. It is increasingly obvious that Eric Holder has something to hide. I still expect a response from the Attorney General before the deadline of Wednesday, June 5.