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House committee investigating whether or not Attorney General Eric Holder lied under oath

Published: Thursday, Sept. 3 2015 9:46 p.m. MDT

In this May 15, 2013, file photo U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation's top law enforcement official, pauses while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Holder told the committee that a serious national security leak required the secret gathering of telephone records at The Associated Press.  (J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press) In this May 15, 2013, file photo U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation's top law enforcement official, pauses while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Holder told the committee that a serious national security leak required the secret gathering of telephone records at The Associated Press. (J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press)

Attorney General Eric Holder is under fire from Congress again as the House Judiciary Committee looks into whether or not he lied under oath while discussing the Justice Department's surveillance of journalists, The Hill reported Monday.

The investigation specifically centers on a remark Holder made to Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., during his May 15 testimony on the possibility of prosecuting reporters under the Espionage Act of 1917.

"In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material — this is not something I've ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy," Holder said.

The interchange between Johnson and Holder came a few days after reports revealed that the DOJ had secretly obtained Associated Press phone records and a few days before The Washington Post revealed that the DOJ had been tracking Fox News reporter James Rosen.

As part of an investigation into leaked classified information, the government subpoenaed Rosen's private emails, with the court documents saying, "The reporter has committed or is committing a violation of section 793(d), as an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator, to which the materials relate."

Section 793(d) says that anyone lawfully possessing information relating to the national defense, "which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States," and communicates that information, the person should be fined or imprisoned.

An NBC News follow-up report showed that Holder personally signed off on the warrant that allowed the government to search Rosen's emails.

Johnson said the attorney general's statement to Congress that no journalists have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act during his time leading the DOJ is accurate.

This latest investigation isn't the first time Holder has come in conflict with Congressional leaders. In June 2012, the House of Representatives voted to hold Holder in contempt for refusing to turn over documents related to the government's Operation Fast and Furious, which deliberately put guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels and has been tied to the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

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