Holder gave 'deceptive and misleading' testimony, House Republicans say
House Republicans issued a report Wednesday finding that Attorney General Eric Holder gave "deceptive and misleading" testimony, but abandoned accusations that he had perjured himself in May during a hearing on the government's seizure of journalists' phone and email records.
The House Judiciary Committee's Republicans launched an investigation after the hearing because Holder claimed not to know of any potential prosecution of members of the press in leak investigations. After the hearing, the Justice Department acknowledged that Holder had signed a search warrant to seize emails from Fox News Channel reporter James Rosen. The search warrant included a declaration that Rosen was a "co-conspirator" in the leak probe targeting a former State Department contractor.
"The Committee finds that Mr. Holder's sworn testimony in the Rosen matter was deceptive and misleading," the report says. "No amount of law-making can restore credibility and professionalism to the Justice Department in the wake of these revelations. The only way to achieve this goal is through an improvement in the quality of leadership at the Justice Department."
Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said "The report was produced on a purely partisan basis. Its purported findings are contrary to the record and strongly disputed by many of the committee's own members."
In his testimony at the May hearing Holder said "[w]ith regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I have ever been involved, heard of, or would think would be a wise policy."
Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, sent their report to President Barack Obama asking that he oust Holder. They noted that Holder's "simple and direct statement had the intended effect -- to leave the members of the Committee with the impression...that nothing comparable to the Rosen search warrant had ever been executed by your administration."
The Justice Department has said Holder was accurate in his testimony because there was never any intent to charge Rosen with a crime.
Holder has since announced an overhaul of rules governing leak investigations, adding hurdles before prosecutors can subpoena journalist records.
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