The Sunday talk shows spent considerable time focusing on the scandals at the Department of Justice, mainly on the question of what happens to Eric Holder. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, confirmed that the panel had begun investigating Holder’s remarks under oath on May 15th denying any knowledge that the DoJ had even considered “potential prosecution” of a reporter under the Espionage Act of 1917 when Holder himself signed a warrant application targeting Fox News’ James Rosen with that allegation included. Goodlatte cautioned that Holder should have an opportunity to respond to Judiciary’s initial request for an explanation before a full-scale investigation starts, but also warned Justice that their first attempted defense holds no water:
“Yes, it is fair to say we’re investigating the conflict in his remarks. Those remarks were made under oath,” Goodlatte said. “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.”
However, the Virginia Republican did underscore the seriousness of the Justice Department’s probe of Rosen and its subsequent reactions.
“This is a very, very serious allegation and the Justice Department I think made the problem worse by claiming that, because they were not prosecuting him, there was no false information given,” Goodlatte added.
Chuck Schumer tried to keep pushing that line of defense, saying that Holder will emerge unscathed because there isn’t “a scintilla of evidence of perjury”:
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday defended Attorney General Eric Holder, saying he thought the Justice Department chief would hold onto his job despite GOP calls for his resignation.
“There have been all kinds of accusations, but I haven’t seen anything that would prevent him from doing his job,” Schumer said. “Obviously if there’s wrongdoing we should find out who did it, but the president has confidence in Holder and I believe he’s going to stay.”
Schumer said Holder had not committed perjury when he testified before Congress that he did not know about a possible prosecution of a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, despite his signature on a search warrant to monitor Rosen’s emails.
“I don’t think there’s perjury,” Schumer said. “I don’t think any good criminal lawyer would say there’s a scintilla of evidence of perjury.”
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw takes a dimmer view of Holder’s survival chances:
Brokaw notes the “Washington two-step” yesterday of on-the-record praise and anonymously-sourced appeals to get out as the beginning of the end for those connected to presidencies in the past. When that pas de deux appears in the New York Times during a Democratic administration, it’s practically a command from the mountaintop. The White House needs Holder to leave on his own, though, and so far he doesn’t appear to be budging.