Republican senator calls on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign


US Attorney General Eric Holder testifies during a hearing on the oversight of the Justice Department before the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, DC, on Dec. 8, 2011.


Alex Wong

Republican lawmakers on Tuesday stepped up their attacks on Attorney General Eric Holder, with one senator calling for his resignation in a heated exchange before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Holder has been criticized for his refusal to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate recent intelligence leaks to the media.

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On Friday, he announced his intention to appoint two "experienced and highly respected" U.S. attorneys, Rod Rosenstein of Maryland and Ronald Machen of Washington, D.C., to investigate the matter, CBS News reported.

But GOP Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and other committee members said that's not enough, Politico reported.

“A lot of us believe if there was ever a need for an outside special counsel, it is now,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina. “Somebody at the highest levels of the government has been talking about programs that I think are incredibly sensitive.”

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GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said he'd lost faith in Holder's handling of the investigation and called on him to resign, according to Fox News.

"Americans deserve an attorney general that will be honest with them, they deserve an attorney general who will uphold the basic standards of political independence and accountability," Cornyn said. "You've proven time and time again, sadly, that you're unwilling to do so."

Holder immediately pushed back, saying he had no intention to resign.

“With all due respect, there is so much factually wrong with the premises you started your statement with,” he said. “I don’t have any intention of resigning. I heard the White House press officer say yesterday that the president has absolute confidence in me. I don’t have any reason to believe that in fact is not the case.”