By Meghashyam Mali - 06/06/13 11:27 AM EDT
Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday brushed back GOP criticism and said he had “no intention” of resigning.
In an interview with NBC News, the embattled attorney general was asked about calls from GOP lawmakers urging him to step down following the controversy over the Justice Department’s seizure of journalists’ phone and email records.
“No. I have no intention of doing so now,” said Holder when asked directly if he was ready to leave his post.
“There are some things that I want to do; some things I want to get done that I've discussed with the president,” said Holder. “And once I have finished that, I'll sit down with him, and we'll determine when it's time to make a transition to a new attorney general.
“Some parts of all criticism are going to be legitimate, and I try to listen to that focus on that see how I can do things better, but large parts of the criticism that you get in Washington, D.C., is partisan in nature; it’s gotcha in nature,” Holder added. “I’m four and half years into this job with some really thick skin, and that stuff, I don’t really focus on.”
The attorney general is facing anger from lawmakers over the DOJ’s probe of reporters over national security leaks, including questions about whether he lied when testifying before Congress.
Holder testified before the committee that he was unaware of any effort to prosecute reporters for publishing leaked information. However, reports claim Holder signed a warrant for Fox News reporter James Rosen’s emails which tagged Rosen as a “criminal co-conspirator.”
The Justice Department has said that there was never any effort to prosecute Rosen, but House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Sunday he was “very concerned” that Holder may have lied and had asked him to respond to questions.
Holder has long had a rocky relationship with GOP lawmakers, with the House voting him in contempt last year after he failed to turn over documents subpoenaed in a probe of the ATF’s botched gun-walking program, Operation Fast and Furious.
Holder said those documents were protected by executive privilege, a claim rejected by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)
Holder told NBC News that the DOJ was reviewing its policies over media subpoenas.
“I’m a little concerned that things have gotten a little out of whack,” he said of the balance between national security and press freedoms. “The sense that I think our rules and regulations both need to be updated and need to reflect in a better way, this is personal to me, reflect in a better way the striking of that balance.”
Holder said he was considering ways to provide “more notification” of subpoenas to media groups and the possibility that judges could be third-party arbiters in cases where the press is unwilling to turn over documents.