Attorney General Eric Holder refused to answer when asked if the Justice Department is spying on members of Congress, citing the need for a classified conversation, which lawmakers accepted while asking him to make sure that evidence of such surveillance is not destroyed.
“With all due respect, Senator, I don’t think this is an appropriate setting for me to discuss [this issue],” Holder replied during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing when Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., asked if the executive branch was conducting surveillance that would give “unique leverage” over lawmakers.
Kirk replied that “the correct answer would be, ‘No, we stayed within our lane, and we did not spy on members of Congress.’”
Holder assured Kirk that “there is no intention to do anything of that nature — that is, to spy on members of Congress or to spy on the Supreme Court.”
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Committee, suggested that the full committee receive a full briefing because they are responsible for funding the Justice Department. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., the full committee chairman, agreed that such a hearing is necessary.
Kirk, noting that anyone who may have spied on Congress could try to hide the evidence, asked Holder to “seize the records and not allow the destruction of evidence that they [may] have monitored other branches of government.”