Holder lies about contempt citation

The Washington Post catches Eric Holder in a lie regarding the contempt citation against him:

The fierce exchanges between Rep. Darrell Issa and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday garnered a lot of attention, but there was also an interesting substantive point that was discussed: Did Ronald C. Machen Jr., the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, make his own decision regarding whether to prosecute Holder for criminal contempt of Congress?

Holder said Machen “made the determination.” What does the evidence show?

The story is a little bit complicated, but here’s the key point:

The decision on whether to empanel a grand jury rested with Machen. But the letter from Cole [indicating that the DOJ would not take action] came even before the House had transmitted the contempt resolution to Machen.

As it happens, this not only smells bad, it’s probably illegal. Under the law, the decision rests with the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, and no one else. But when the DOJ breaks the law, who can take action?

POSTSCRIPT: The Post is willing to forgive Holder because his office later retracted his false statement. My readers can decide for themselves whether subsequently retracting a lie excuses it.

(Previous post.)

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