McCain Questions Whether Holder Should Stay

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 2 2013 2:50 PM

McCain Questions Whether Holder Can “Still Effectively Serve the President”

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Attorney General Eric Holder testifies during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on oversight of the Department of Justice on May 15, 2013

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

It was bash-Attorney-General-Eric-Holder day in the Sunday talk shows this week as several Republican lawmakers questioned whether he should remain in his post and warned that he will be facing investigations over statements he gave while under oath. Sen. John McCain went as far as to call on Holder to ask himself whether he should resign. “The Attorney General has to ask himself the question, ‘Is he really able to effectively serve the president of the United States and the American people under the present circumstances?’ That’s a decision he’d have to make,” McCain said on CBS, according to the Washington Post’s transcript. When McCain was asked directly whether Holder should resign, the senator insisted that was up to Holder to decide. “I think it would be tough for him to answer the question whether he can still effectively serve the president of the United States,” McCain said.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, confirmed on Sunday that his panel was investigating inconsistencies in statements that Holder gave while under oath. "Yes, it is fair to say we are investigating the conflict in his remarks," Goodlatte said when he was asked on Fox News whether his committee was investigating Holder. For his part, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa suggested Holder may have perjured himself, noting on CNN that his comments before lawmakers amounted to “a lie, by most people’s standards.”

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Holder had told lawmakers last month that he had never been involved with the “potential prosecution of the press,” even though he had approved a 2010 warrant to search the e-mail records of a Fox News reporter. "Perjury is a criminal charge that has to be proven," Issa said. "But certainly it's hard to have confidence in what this attorney general says or his people say when so often it turns out not to be true."

Meanwhile though, Sen. Chuck Schumer told NBC that President Obama has full confidence in Holder. It doesn’t seem like everyone in the White House agrees. The New York Times hears word that some staffers “privately tell associates” they wish Holder would step down, saying he has now turned into an easy target. NBC’s Tom Brokaw calls the article part of “the familiar Washington two-step,” adding that it’s “tough to see” how Holder can stay in office. 

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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