Eric Holder’s interview with Pete Williams of NBC News is, as John says, a classic. It seems to me that Holder’s statements during the interview nail down the case that he lied to Congress or to a court.
According to NBC’s account of the interview [note that NBC’s written account does not appear to track word-for-word the video of the interview NBC posted along with its account], Holder said:
I don’t like [using the term “co-conspirator” to describe reporters] because it means that me as a government official, and who has great respect for the press, is in essence saying that the reporter who is doing his or her job, and doing that very important job, is somehow branded a criminal.
So Holder admits that he branded Fox News’ James Rosen a criminal.
I understand Orin Kerr’s argument that deeming someone a criminal isn’t the same thing as deciding to prosecute that individual. But I think it’s dishonest to say (as Holder, in effect, said to Congress) that there was no potential for the prosecution of someone the Department of Justice had branded a criminal and whom it was investigating.
I agree with Bill Otis that “the outcome of an investigation conducted with even minimal integrity depends, not on pre-existing personal or political inclinations, but on what the evidence turns up.” Thus, “every serious investigation. . .holds in it. . .a potential prosecution” of those being investigated.
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