White House defends Holder from accusations of lying under oathSouce:Xinhua Publish By Thomas Whittle Updated 03/06/2013 9:27 am in World / no comments
WASHINGTON, May 29 — The White House on Wednesday defended U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder from accusations that he had lied under oath to Congress, as a U.S. House panel formally opened an investigation into Holder’s testimony related to the Justice Department’s surveillance of reporters.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said at the daily briefing that accusations of Holder misleading Congress two weeks ago during a congressional testimony were wrong.
“It seems self-evident that the charge is inaccurate,” said Carney, stressing that Holder had testified “truthfully.”
“The president believes that the attorney general is doing a good job and the president has confidence in the attorney general, ” Carney added.
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday formally initiated an investigation into whether Holder lied under oath during congressional testimony on May 15. The committee chairman Bob Goodlatte and Congressman James Sensenbrenner sent a letter to Holder detailing specific aspects of his testimony that may have conflicted with media reports about his involvement in the surveillance of a Fox News reporter.
Speaking at the hearing two weeks ago, Holder said, “In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, this is not something I have ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.”
Holder’s May 15 testimony at the hearing came after The Associated Press revealed the U.S. Justice Department had secretly seized its reporters’ phone records in a leaks investigation.
However, the Justice Department’s actions against other reporters became public after the hearing. NBC News reported last week that Holder personally approved a search warrant against Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen in another national security leaks case and obtained access to his emails.
The House panel is now investigating whether NBC’s report contradicts Holder’s claim that he had not looked into or been involved with a possible prosecution of the press in a leaks case.
One day before the May 15 hearing, Holder recused himself from the Justice Department’s decision to secretly seize two months of phone records of The Associated Press journalists and editors. But Holder said he believed that the subpoena was performed in conformity with the Justice Department’s regulations. He also stressed that the leak that prompted the investigation and the subpoena was “a very serious leak.”
Holder appointed two U.S. attorneys last year to investigate a series of national security leaks that provoked bipartisan criticism from Congress.