Attorney General Eric Holder has missed the deadline set by Republicans to personally explain questionable testimony he gave on reporter surveillance, as lawmakers threaten to subpoena Holder if necessary.
The deadline set by House Judiciary Committee Republicans was close-of-business on Wednesday. An aide told FoxNews.com they have "not received a response."
The Justice Department earlier this week penned a response to the Republican leaders of the committee. But it was authored by a lower-level official, and committee leaders complained it did not address their concerns.
"A letter from a subordinate that fails to answer many of our questions does not suffice," Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., wrote in a letter sent Tuesday.
The committee wants Holder to explain his May 15 testimony.
At the time, the attorney general said under oath he knew nothing of the "potential prosecution" of the press. Days later, it emerged that Holder was involved in his department's successful effort to obtain Fox News reporter James Rosen's personal emails -- the DOJ sought access to the documents by arguing Rosen was a likely criminal "co-conspirator" in a leak case.
The Justice Department explained Monday in a letter to GOP committee leaders that the investigation never escalated into any prosecution of the reporter.
"The Attorney General's testimony before the Committee on May 15, 2013, with respect to the Department's prosecutions of the unauthorized disclosure of classified information was accurate and consistent with these facts," the letter said.
Yet the letter also acknowledged that Holder "was consulted and approved the application for the search warrant." And, while Republican leaders of the House Judiciary Committee demanded an explanation from Holder himself, the letter was signed not by him but by a "principal deputy assistant attorney general."
The Justice Department, though, was not expected to provide any other paperwork to the committee on Wednesday -- which puts the question to GOP leaders whether they will aggressively pursue the issue.
Earlier in the week, Sensenbrenner said his committee is prepared to compel Holder to explain if he doesn't make the Wednesday deadline.
"I think we ought to subpoena the attorney general to come back and answer those questions specifically," he told Fox News on Sunday, when asked what happens if Holder misses the deadline.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., agreed.
He told Fox News on Monday that Holder "absolutely" should return to the committee to explain his May 15 comments.