Dem defends Holder as 'one of the finest' public servants ever

Many Republicans have called on Holder to resign, and the GOP is examining whether Holder lied to Congress in May during a hearing on the Justice Department's decision to confiscate phone records from reporters.

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But Jackson Lee said perjury charges are baseless given Holder's specific comments. In that May hearing, Holder said he has not been involved in decisions about the "potential prosecution" of reporters for the disclosure of classified information.

Later, it was revealed that Holder signed a warrant labeling Fox News reporter James Rosen as a co-conspirator, and allowing his records to be collected. But Jackson Lee said the signing of that warrant does not contradict his statement to Congress that he is not considering the prosecution of reporters.

She said Justice has not prosecuted any reporter, making Holder's statement to Congress accurate. "To the extent that anyone would suggest that he perjured himself is absolutely without context, without substance, without basis, without intent, without proof, and it serves no purpose," she said.

Others have said Holder's decision to sign the Rosen warrant means he had to be considering the possible prosecution of Rosen, especially since it names him as a co-conspirator. But even so, Holder might be able to prosecute Rosen without contradicting his testimony — Holder told Congress only that he is not looking at prosecuting reporters for disclosing information, while prosecution could be based on Rosen's solicitation of this information.

Jackson Lee argued that Justice's effort was justified and was not meant to target reporters, but rather was aimed to finding out who leaked classified information.

"It was not the reporters. It was to find out who was … the leaker. That's the angst of the people, lawyers, entrusted with your protection in the Department of Justice," she said.

Jackson Lee added that Holder has worked hard to deal with issues like voter fraud and human trafficking, and said he has always worked in the best interests of Americans. She then urged him not to resign.

"This Justice Department has been following the law, and it is crucial that when we use a litmus test to be able to determine when someone should resign — and by the way, General Holder, do not resign. America needs a top law enforcement officer of integrity — then the standard should be the law," she said.

Jackson Lee was joined by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who agreed that Holder will ultimately be found to have done nothing wrong.

"I believe that he will be vindicated shortly because it's so clear on the face of it that there has been not even a scintilla of attempt to mislead the Congress or anybody else," Norton said.

The two members also praised the selection of former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to be Obama's next national security adviser. They said GOP anger at Rice over the Benghazi, Libya, attack is also misplaced, and said she had nothing to do with rewriting talking points on that attack.

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