U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder faced tough questions from members of
the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Wednesday, about the
Justice Department's gathering of phone records from Associated Press
reporters, and on the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of
conservative Tea Party groups. This has turned out to be a rough week
for the attorney general and for President Barack Obama.
President Obama is facing questions on two developing domestic scandals,
and the pressure on top members of his Cabinet is beginning to heat up
on Capitol Hill.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers have expressed outrage that Internal
Revenue Service employees targeted conservative Tea Party groups that
applied for tax-exempt status for special scrutiny. House Speaker John
Boehner suggested there may have been criminal conduct.
“The IRS admitted to targeting conservatives, even if the White House
continues to be stuck on the word ‘if.’ My question isn't about who is
going to resign. My question is who's going to jail over this scandal?,”
At a previously scheduled House hearing, Attorney General Eric Holder
promised that his department would be dispassionate in its investigation
into the IRS and go after whoever did wrong.
"The facts will take us wherever they take us," Holder said.
Though the Justice Department has subpoenaed two months of AP reporters
and editors' telephone records, Holder told lawmakers he could not
answer any questions because he recused himself early in the
investigation of who leaked sensitive national security information
about a foiled terror attack in Yemen.
"I am not familiar with the reasons why the subpoena was constructed in
the way that it was because I am simply not a part of the case," Holder
Republican lawmakers said they detect a pattern with the Obama
administration when it comes to scandals. Republican Congressman James
Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.
"There does not seem to be any acceptance of responsibility, in the
Justice Department, for things that have gone wrong," Sensenbrenner
A number of Democratic lawmakers and civil rights activists have said
the seizure of reporters' phone records could have a chilling effect on
freedom of the press. Democrat Zoe Lofgren of California.
"The damage done to a free press is substantial," Lofgren said.
Lawmakers say they will continue to push for answers, which will likely
mean more tough weeks ahead for the President and his Attorney- General.