Did Eric Holder lie in Congressional testimony last week?

posted at 10:01 am on May 24, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

That’s the question asked by Katie Pavlich and Jim Hoft after the revelation that Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved the application for a warrant on Fox News’ James Rosen as a potential co-conspirator in espionage.  Last week, under relatively friendly questioning from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) about the Department of Justice seizure of Associated Press phone records, Johnson asked about the potential to prosecute reporters under the Espionage Act of 1917.  “You’ve got a long way to go to try to prosecute the press for publication of material,” Holder responded.  Later, though, he returned to the topic unbidden, emphasis mine (at the 5-minute mark):

In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material. This is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.

As it turns out, Holder not only heard of it, he personally approved it.  The warrant in the Rosen case specified that he was considered a potential suspect in the leak of classified material, the reason that the DoJ didn’t bother to follow the existing Watergate-era statute in coordinating the records request with Fox News.  And note that Holder’s testimony in this case wasn’t produced by some sophisticated perjury trap sprung by a Republican, but as a freely-offered representation to no particular question during the question period of a Democrat.

There is no other way to view this except as a lie.  Even if Holder wasn’t under oath, that would constitute a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.  It certainly should produce at least a resignation, and almost assuredly would require the appointment of a special prosecutor, especially since the next person down in the organization, James Cole, is suspected of doing the same thing with reporters.

Update: Looks like a wide bipartisan consensus has formed for Holder’s resignation. The Huffington Post wants him gone, as does Esquire. A resignation at this point is probably not enough, either, if the House decides that further action is required after this false representation on a key issue.

Update: According to Guy Benson and Gabriel Malor, Holder was under oath:

I couldn’t recall this when I wrote the post, even though I watched most of that hearing.  That, of course, puts a charge of perjury on the table.

Update: Jennifer Rubin independently reached the same conclusion, and notes the specificity in the warrant application of Rosen’s status as a suspect:

First, the affidavit (paragraph 45) asserts that DOJ exhausted all means available to get the material from Rosen’s e-mails and phone, and “because of [Rosen's] own potential criminal liability in this matter,” asking for the documents voluntarily would compromise the integrity of the investigation. Moreover, the affidavit asserts that the “targets” of the investigation (including Rosen) were a risk to “mask their identity and activity, flee or otherwise obstruct this investigation.” It is highly questionable whether Holder believed any of that to be true. (Really, he imagined a Fox News reporter would flee the country? He thought Rosen would don a disguise?) Was the affidavit a sort of ruse to get Rosen’s records (or later to pressure his cooperation)? Did Holder intentionally mislead a judge when he signed off on the affidavit? That is worth exploring.

Indeed, along with the question of perjury in Congressional testimony.

Update: The Right Sphere‘s RB makes a good point:

I’m sure Holder and his allies will say that they never intended to prosecute Rosen, but that’s 1) not the point and 2) even worse. If that’s their defense, they knowingly lied to the judge who would, hopefully, reject the request if they admitted it was just a fishing expedition for information.

They’re stuck. Either he (by signing the request for the records) lied to the judge or Holder lied directly to Congress.

I hadn’t thought about that, but RB is right.  Either Holder misrepresented the DoJ in a court filing, or he lied to Congress, and arguably he did both.  Either one should get Holder disbarred, at the least.

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Other nations with a corrupt press at least had the sense to be miserable and cynical.

Not America!

What a country!

IlikedAUH2O on May 24, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Actually that gives me some hope.

The Russians even forgot how to smile.

I guess we aren’t there yet at least.

petunia on May 24, 2013 at 9:18 PM

nonpartisan on May 24, 2013 at 1:03 PM

That election was unworthy of a third world dictatorship.

Obama won through thuggery, threats, and intimidation.

There was no free election last November, it was a fraud. The people’s voice was silenced in fear.

Obama is not President. We don’t have one. And there is no solution to the situation we are in. The founders never envisioned election fraud on this scale.

petunia on May 24, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Wouldn’t be the 1st time — He perpetrated 3 felony counts of perjury before Congress during the Fast & Furious investigation. The only reason he isn’t sharing a cell with Scooter Libby right now is because his DOJ refused to do their job (charge Holder with the crimes), leaving Congress with only 1 option — CENSURING him, making Holder the 1st Atty General to ever be Censured!

Just like his boss, Holder has no respect for the Constitution, for the laws he is supposed to enforce, or for Congress.

easyt65 on May 24, 2013 at 11:01 PM

Did Holder lie last week? What–just last week?

stukinIL4now on May 24, 2013 at 11:35 PM

In regard to potential prosecution…

Of course he lied his ass off. However, as absurd as this seems, I think Holder has wiggle room via the word “potential” and given the lickspittles in the press he could get away with it. He could actually argue (as any good Clintonoid knows) that he hasn’t been involved with potential prosecution–but in REAL FULL BLOWN BALLS TO THE WALL prosecution. None of that potential
abuse of power stuff. “I’m Erich Holder, I actually follow through on my crimes!”

Western_Civ on May 25, 2013 at 12:30 AM

Western- you are misreading the quote. Holder actually screwed himself by using the term “potential” because the Rosen matter was in fact a “potential” prosecution since he was never prosecuted. If he had said ” I was never involved in a full prosecution” then he would have wriggle room. But since he claimed he had never been involved in, or even seen a potential prosecution, he is toast.

Ta111 on May 25, 2013 at 7:58 AM

Eric Holder lied?
That means he’ll probably be getting a promotion, bonus, pay increase or an award from Obama soon.

JellyToast on May 25, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Maybe Holder should take up using a teleprompter and stop moving his lips so much since we know if they are moving, he’s lying about something. If they could nail this to his hide, they might find it easier to nail F&F there, too. Stealing elections was the method of choice for 2008 as well. This has been going on all of Oblamo’s political career. That’s his real ‘gift’ and it’s called grift, with a capital G.

Kissmygrits on May 25, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Nothing will come of this. The Obama administration has faced one scandal after another without facing any serious consequences. Why should this latest one be any different?

zoyclem on May 25, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Did Eric Holder lie in Congressional testimony last week?

Did his lips move?/

S. D. on May 25, 2013 at 10:32 AM

He’s a liar from WAY back. A black liberal lawyer who is connected and corrupt. If he leaves it will be to limit his exposure to Congress. God help us if the Dems take over the House. I told my daughter today her world will never resemble anything like mine ever again.

If you look at Obama’s inner circle- his fundamental change inner circle- you will see Holder at the core.

DOJ- corrupt- which means ATF, FBI, AGs etc.

DHS- corrupt- Which means customs, DHS, border, etc.

Treasury- corrupt- which means SS and IRS

EPA- corrupt- rules regulations and laws

OSHA- corrupt- workplace rules and regulations

Obamacare- corrupt- your healthcare and taxes

NSA/CIA/State- corrupt- Benghazi, Afghanistan, Eqypt, Syria,

Am I missing anything?

Fundamental change brothers is here.

archer52 on May 25, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Can somebody tell me, did the Friday before a long holiday weekend go by without a major document dump?

It’s not like I’m going to read about it in the newspaper, after all.

drunyan8315 on May 25, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Deflection. The guard dog barking ought not to distract us from finding the guy now hiding in the house.

Don L on May 25, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Did Holder lie?

Every time he opened his mouth.

hawkeye54 on May 25, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Ta111, thanks for setting me straight. If Holder goes for a prosecution at this point, might he have a way to cover his tracks?

Western_Civ on May 25, 2013 at 11:29 AM

um, so who is YOUR president?

checkmate

nonpartisan on May 24, 2013 at 12:16 PM

We have no president. Just an inept clown occupying space in the white house…on our dime.

And you couldn’t checkmate your zipper without ripping out your pubes, you partisan hack.

Go wipe your mouth off. You’re disgusting.

Solaratov on May 25, 2013 at 11:47 AM

there, I think you missed a word.

*snickers*

nonpartisan on May 24, 2013 at 12:24 PM

So…you hate black people, huh, partisan.

You’re a racist.

But you know that.

Solaratov on May 25, 2013 at 11:50 AM

The president speaks about the attorney general:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlUmruKGAAc

Marco on May 25, 2013 at 12:12 PM

of course he did… he’s a liar

dpduq on May 25, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Whatever. I have a serious question for you. What is your current occupation?

arnold ziffel on May 24, 2013 at 12:42 PM

why, so ppl have more ammo to mock me? I’m not inclined to share more personal details considering how well it went the last time I did

nonpartisan on May 24, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Does your Hahvahd degree impress the clerks at the unemployment office?

Solaratov on May 25, 2013 at 12:22 PM

My hopes for Tuesday Morning after Memorial Day?

Holder’s resignation!!!!

That would be the best thing to happen since about 2007.

Holder is Obama’s protector, when he is gone, lips will begin to wag.

petunia on May 25, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Harvard has always been overrated to those who can’t get in. Funny how that works, eh?

nonpartisan on May 24, 2013 at 12:25 PM

So, what about someone who was accepted by Hahvahd…and rejected them? And who was then deluged for the next six months with letters and phone calls from Hahvahd trying to get him to change his mind? And he still rejected them…to go to a university which offered a better education.

Solaratov on May 25, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Is Holder a Democrat? Is he one of Obama’s cabinet heads? Is he part of the DOJ? Is he a liberal? Is there a pattern here?

HiJack on May 25, 2013 at 2:15 PM

disbarred?

This is a grievous abuse of power, surely it deserves more than that? A guy robbing a liqueur store gets more consequences than the top “cop” gets for something far more sinister?

I hope that’s not the case. Punishment should be so severe for these multiple actions that the next person in his shoes should piss in his pants at even the thought of doing anything close to this…

Alinsky on May 25, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Whatever. I have a serious question for you. What is your current occupation?

arnold ziffel on May 24, 2013 at 12:42 PM

why, so ppl have more ammo to mock me? I’m not inclined to share more personal details considering how well it went the last time I did

nonpartisan on May 24, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Her current occupation: troll.

HiJack on May 25, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Harvard has always been overrated to those who can’t get in. Funny how that works, eh?

nonpartisan on May 24, 2013 at 12:25 PM

So, what about someone who was accepted by Hahvahd…and rejected them? And who was then deluged for the next six months with letters and phone calls from Hahvahd trying to get him to change his mind? And he still rejected them…to go to a university which offered a better education.

Solaratov on May 25, 2013 at 1:12 PM

And then there is former Harvard “student” Adam Wheeler, who not only faked his way into the school, but then cheated his way thru nearly 4 years before finally getting caught.

Del Dolemonte on May 25, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Did Eric Holder lie…..

Were his lips moving?

Another Drew on May 25, 2013 at 3:04 PM

You’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems…or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices.

–Barack Obama, 5/5/13

It’s not just “government” that’s the danger, Mr. President.
It’s your government.

We need more of those voices.

itsnotaboutme on May 25, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Yes. Next question.

RebeccaH on May 25, 2013 at 5:48 PM

more ammo to mock me?
nonpartisan on May 24, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Hey Skeet , you’re the gift that keeps on giving.

CW on May 25, 2013 at 8:05 PM

has he ever told the truth? maybe when saying how much he digs the new beyonce video.

elifino on May 26, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Of course he was lying, his lips were moving..
No one in this Admin tells the truth.

mmcnamer1 on May 26, 2013 at 8:37 PM

And then there is former Harvard “student” Adam Wheeler, who not only faked his way into the school, but then cheated his way thru nearly 4 years before finally getting caught.

Del Dolemonte on May 25, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Frankly I would’ve given the kid an honorary something or other; if he’s smart enough to fool the supposedly smartest school in the nation for a whole 4 years (time enough to get a degree!), that’s an achievement right there.

MelonCollie on May 26, 2013 at 10:59 PM

Is the Pope Catholic?

francesca on May 26, 2013 at 11:59 PM

Politicians at his level passed through a lie-inhibition barrier a long time ago. His every thought and word is intended to create an “impression” on the audience. He doesn’t work with facts, it’s too low-level a concern – it’s all about what you believe (your intentions) and how the public perceives your statements as crediting those intentions.

When asked technical matters of fact and law he resents the intrusion. He may well remember not signing things. Not his role to do that.

virgo on May 27, 2013 at 11:54 AM

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