Will Eric Holder Have To Resign As Verizon Scandal Grows?

It's been a bad month for Attorney General Eric Holder.

First came the May 13 revelation that the Department of Justice had secretly acquired two months of a broad selection of Associated Press reporters' phone records, which led to wide condemnation of Holder and his apparent disregard for press freedoms.

And just a few days later Holder came under fire yet again when it was revealed that the Justice Department had looked at emails and followed the movements of Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen in an attempt to determine how he obtained a major scoop regarding North Korea's nuclear program.

Those twin scandals, as well as the ongoing hubbubs over the Obama administration's handling of the deaths of four Americans during an attack on the Benghazi mission in Libya, and the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of tea party groups and other conservative organization for added scrutiny -- not to mention the "Fast and Furious" debacle -- have gripped Washington and led to widespread condemnation of both Holder and his boss, President Barack Obama.

Now, a day after a blockbuster Guardian report revealed that the National Security Agency is collecting the telephone records of millions of Verizon Wireless customers across the nation, the criticism of Obama and Holder's secretive tactics has reached a fever pitch.

That onslaught of scrutiny has led many in D.C. to wonder if Holder will be able to get out of these epic scandals with his job intact, a prospect that seems increasingly unlikely as the dirt continues to pile on.

Holder, who has been attorney general since February 2009, spoke on the topic of his future during a one-and-one interview with NBC News reporter Pete Williams that ran Wednesday, before the Guardian story about the Verizon scandal was published.

"There's some things that I want to do, some things I want to get done” while still serving as attorney general, Holder said. “I've discussed that with the president. And once I have finished that, I'll sit down with him and we'll determine when it's time to make a transition to a new attorney general."

When Williams asked him if he has plans to step down, Holder responsed by saying, "No, I have no intention of doing so now."

Yet even before the new Verizon scandal broke, GOP lawmakers were already weighing the possibility of charging Holder with perjury based on his testifying that he was not involved in the "possible prosecution" of Rosen despite the fact that it has been revealed that he approved a search warrant related to the case.

"It is fair to say we're investigating the conflict in his remarks, those remarks were made under oath, but we also think it’s very important that the attorney general be afforded the opportunity to respond, so we will wait to pass judgment on that until we receive his response," Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said on "Fox News Sunday" this week.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., took it a step further on Fox News’ “American Newsroom" Monday.

“If I were Eric Holder, I would resign,” King said. “I don’t see how he remains in office, though, very much longer, since he’s lost so much credibility with Congress and the American people.”

The legislators' comments come a month after Holder made a false claim about his actions during the "Fast and Furious" incident, further adding to the body of evidence against the attorney general.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., suggested on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Holder won't recover.

"The attorney general has definitely lost the trust of the American people," Blackburn said." "I think it will take a generation to rebuild trust in the federal government at this point."

Some leading politicians have continued to express support for Holder, as Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., did on "Meet the Press" Sunday.

"There have been all kinds of accusations, but I haven't seen anything that would prevent him from being able to do his job," Schumer said, adding later that, "Obviously if there's wrongdoing we should find out who did it, but the president has confidence in Holder and I believe he's going to stay."

But on Thursday the rising chorus of criticism grew, as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., issued a harsh rebuke of the Verizon scandal.

"The National Security Agency's seizure and surveillance of virtually all of Verizon's phone customers is an astounding assault on the Constitution," Paul said in a statement. "After revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted political dissidents and the Department of Justice seized reporters' phone records, it would appear that this administration has now sunk to a new low."

A petition by the American Center for Law and Justice titled "AG Holder Must Resign" has more than 56,000 signatures as of Thursday morning.

As of now, Holder appears to be retaining his post as the nation's chief law enforcement officer, but his days there may be numbered as the drumbeat for him to step down grows ever louder.

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