Two Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee opened a formal probe on Wednesday into whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied under oath during testimony before the committee on May 15.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) wrote a letter to Holder on Wednesday noting the “discrepancy” between Holder’s sworn testimony and some of the details in the leak investigation involving Fox News reporter James Rosen.
Holder appeared before the committee on May 15, saying that he has never been involved in the “potential prosecution of the press for disclosure of material.”
“That is not something that I have ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be a wise policy,” Holder said in his testimony, when questioned by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.).
Holder’s testimony that day centered on the Department of Justice’s obtaining of Associated Press reporters’ phone records, a case from which Holder had himself recused.
Goodlatte and Sensenbrenner contend, however, that Holder’s involvement in the Rosen case is at least worth further scrutiny. The Congressmen did not accuse Holder of perjury, but they noted that he was “under oath” during the testimony.
In an application for a search warrant, FBI agent Reginald Reyes wrote that there was probable cause Rosen had violated the Espionage Act by soliciting classified information from Stephen J. Kim, a former State Department official. Reyes wrote that Rosen was an “aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator” in leaking the information. NBC reported late last week that Holder had played a role in approving the search warrant.
In the letter to Holder, he two Republican Congressmen ask Holder to clarify his involvement.
“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 emails?” Goodlatte and Sensenbrenner write.
“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?”
Rosen has not been charged in the case.
The letter comes as Holder prepares to meet with Washington, D.C., bureau chiefs of major publications about the Justice Department’s guidelines on subpoenaeing news organisations, according to Politico’s Mike Allen.
The full letter from Goodlatte and Sensenbrenner is below:
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