Did Eric Holder Lie Under Oath to Congress?

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 15: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder takes his seat during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice May 15, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Holder faced questions on reports of the subpoena of two months worth of Associated Press journalists’ phone records and the Internal Revenue Services’ scrutiny of conservative organization’s tax exemption requests. Credit: Getty Images

The Justice Department on Friday admitted that Attorney General Eric Holder personally signed off on the search warrant relating to Fox News reporter James Rosen’s personal emails.

That revelation has led many to speculate that Holder may have lied under oath while testifying before Congress last week. Michelle Malkin, Townhall’s Katie Pavlich and Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey have all asked that very question.

So, did Holder actually mislead Congress? Let’s examine the evidence.

During last week’s hearing, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) asked Holder 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 answered.

He later added: “In regard to potential prosecution of the press for disclosure of material, this is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, of would think would be wise policy.”

Hot Air explains why that statement could prove troublesome for the attorney general:

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.

However, Hot Air’s Morrissey goes on to point out that there is an argument to be made that he was certainly under oath and any “no oath” courtesy was waived.

There has been some bipartisan agreement that it may be time for Holder to go. The Huffington Post called for the attorney general’s resignation with a huge splash on its front page. The headline read: “Time To Go: Holder OK’d Press Probe.”

Others have pointed out that the Justice Department may try to claim they never actually intended to prosecute Rosen so Holder never mislead Congress. However, that argument is apparently flawed as well.

“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,” The Right Sphere’s RB writes. “They’re stuck. Either he (by signing the request for the records) lied to the judge or Holder lied directly to Congress.”

What do you think — Did Holder mislead Congress, a federal judge or both? Or do you think he was honest in his testimony?

(Read on TheBlaze blog: Did Attorney General Eric Holder Lie Under Oath?)