Attorney General Eric Holder gestures as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, before the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department. (Photo: AP)
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) say it is obvious Attorney General Eric Holder has "something to hide" after receiving the Department of Justice's response to their recent inquiry.
The lawmakers' original letter to Holder requested clarification regarding the apparent conflict between Holder's sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, and his decision to obtain a search warrant for the emails of Fox News' chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen. The letter had a deadline of June 5.
But instead of getting a response from Holder, they received a letter from Peter J. Kadzik, the attorney general's principal deputy assistant.
The missive "[emphasized] that an investigation is different than a prosecution and that any attempt to obtain a search warrant comes before any final decision about prosecution," the Washington Post wrote.
Chairman Goodlatte apparently has no patience for the attorney general's evasiveness, according to a statement from his office:
“Today’s response from the Justice Department’s Office of Legislative Affairs raises more questions than it answers. By having a subordinate send this response rather than Attorney General Holder himself, this response begs the question of whether Holder has something to hide. Discrepancies in Attorney General Holder’s congressional testimony made on the record need to be corrected on the record to Congress by Attorney General Holder himself.
"Attorney General Holder still has yet to respond to our letter. He can’t outsource the responsibility for his actions to lower level staff—the buck stops with him. The American people and Congress deserve answers and accountability from Attorney General Holder. The House Judiciary Committee anxiously awaits his response to our May 29 letter by this Wednesday’s deadline.” [Emphasis added]
Subcommittee Chairman Sensenbrenne employed even stronger language.
“This response is insulting and further proof that Attorney General Holder refuses to hold himself accountable. Not only did the letter come from a low-level staffer at DOJ, not Holder himself, it fails to answer the questions raised by his misleading testimony," a statement from his office reads. "Congress and the American people deserve an explanation from the Attorney General. It is increasingly obvious that Eric Holder has something to hide. I still expect a response from the Attorney General before the deadline of Wednesday, June 5.”
Republicans have threatened to bring Eric Holder once more before Congress, and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said Monday that he "absolutely" thinks Holder should have to explain his statements under oath.
Some have discussed charges of perjury, but Judge Andrew Napolitano explains why, in this case, it might be an exceedingly difficult charge to prove: