Attorney General Holder Set To Be Grilled At House Hearing

The powerful House Judiciary Committee will play host to Attorney General Eric Holder at 1:00pm during what was supposed to be a routine oversight hearing of the Department of Justice.

Yesterday afternoon, the now embattled Holder held a press conference with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius where he was set to talk about developments around the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, but was predictably peppered with questions about the seizure of Associated Press phone records. In a new development, Holder recused himself from the probe which has rangled the entire press corps.

Though few details are out, the Justice Department has made three definitive claims. First, that the Department sought other means to obtain the information it was after before going to a court for a secret order. Secondly, after recusing himself, Holder justified the actions of the Justice Department stating, “this is among the top two or three serious leaks that I’ve ever seen.” And lastly, Holder pointed out that deputy attorney general James M. Cole, who is leading the FBI investigation, responded to AP’s letter, calling many of the claims factually false.

Related: Read a PDF of AP President Gary Pruitt’s letter to Eric Holder.

Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has promised to press Holder on the controversial issue. This is an excerpt of an email Goodlatte just sent his supporters.

You may have heard the report that the DOJ issued an unexplained secret subpoena which gave sweeping authorization to seize Associated Press documents and phone calls.

Today I will be holding a hearing on the Oversight of the Department of Justice. Attorney General Eric Holder will be in attendance, and I plan on asking pointed questions regarding the DOJ’s seizure of the AP records.

A source close to the Chairman of the Committee that reviews one-third of all House bills says that the Congressman is also ready to move on the scandal involving the IRS targeting tea party movement and conservative groups for additional scrutiny, which potentially may constitute criminal harassment and suppression of First Amendment rights, which all fall under the Committee’s purview.

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