GOP Wants Holder to Resign Over Security Leaks Investigation That They Wanted Holder to Do

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 14 2013 2:00 PM

GOP Wants Holder to Resign Over Security Leaks Investigation That They Wanted Holder to Do

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder holds a news conference at which he said he recused himself last year from a national security leak probe in which prosecutors obtained the phone records of Associated Press journalists at the Justice Department May 14, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

So, in May 2012 the pressure on the Obama administration to conduct some investigation of national security leaks became impossible to resist. Republicans wanted a special prosecutor to be empowered—something that isn't really done anymore, post-Ken Starr. Instead, this happened on June 8, 2012:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday appointed two U.S. Attorneys to head an investigation into a recent series of national security leaks.
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Soon, on June 12, 2012:

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, made the call for Holder's resignation during a Senate hearing late Tuesday morning. It came in the context of GOP concerns about Holder's decision to appoint two lawyers from within his department to handle the politically sensitive leak probe -- as well as concerns about Fast and Furious.

And we fast-forward to the results of that investigation. May 13, 2013:

Federal investigators secretly seized two months of phone records for reporters and editors of The Associated Press in what the news organization said Monday was a “serious interference with A.P.’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.” ... The Justice Department referred questions about the subpoena to a spokesman for Ronald C. Machen Jr., the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, who was assigned by Mr. Holder last June to lead one of two major leak investigations.

And on May 14, 2013:

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is calling on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to resign in light of the Department of Justice secretly monitoring Associated Press reporters' and editors' phone conversations. Priebus is calling the move by the DOJ a direct violation of the First Amendment.

The GOP wanted the investigation in the first place! Yes, it wanted a special prosecutor, so it can safely kick away ownership of this mess, but it was kicking up dirt over the leaks in the first place. Watching the outrage spigot turn on this story will be fascinating.

Correction, May 15, 2013: The last two dates in this item were originally listed as "2012." Why? That's an excellent question.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.