House Judiciary Committee probing Holder perjury charge
Eric Holder on May 15 testifying under oath before the House Judiciary Committee:
"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 The Hill article points out, NBC News reported a few days later that Holder personally signed off on the search warrant for Fox News reporter James Rosen.
Is this perjury?
Of course it is. But proving it in a court of law is an entirely different matter. Recall that Clinton was well and truly trapped when he told a grand jury that he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky, and yet he was never indicted or tried for that whopper. (Clinton was later disbarred for that, and other lies.)
Recall that Nixon AG John Mitchell actually went to jail for perjury (and obstruction of justice) as a result of the Watergate affair. But that case was a slam dunk - they had Mitchell on tape plotting the cover up.
Holder, like Clinton, may skate on a technicality:
The May 15 Judiciary hearing was held after The Associated Press revealed Justice had secretly subpoenaed its phone records in a separate leaks investigation.
Justice did not return a request for comment, but Johnson on Tuesday defended Holder, arguing his statement was specific to Johnson's line of questioning about the Espionage Act and not meant to pertain to other investigations.
"The attorney general's statement that no journalists have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act during his tenure is accurate," he told The Hill.
Johnson said he raised the Espionage Act issue because he believes the law could be misused to target reporters due to the way it was written. He argued it should be changed.
"Congress is responsible for protecting the press while giving law enforcement the tools to prosecute officials who leak classified information," Johnson said. "I support considering amendments to the Espionage Act and passing the Free Flow of Information Act to refine this balance."
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, told The Hill that Holder was "forthright" with the panel and that there was "no need to turn a policy disagreement into allegations of misconduct."
But Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (Wis.), the second-ranking Judiciary Committee Republican, told The Hill that Holder should resign.
He accused the attorney general of misleading the panel during the investigation of the "Fast and Furious" gun-walking operation, and again when he claimed to not know about the AP probe.
I suppose he can make that defense, except he looks pretty pathetic doing it. Everyone knows what he said and knows what he meant and the fact that he's trying to weasel out from under a perjury rap - the sitting Attorney General of the United States and the top law enforcement officer in the land - turns the stomach of decent people.
He should have resigned long ago. He should resign now.