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Special Report

All-Star Panel: President's top cop about to get busted?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 28, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. HANK JOHNSON, D - GA: We also have an old law that would allow for prosecution of anyone who published the classified information isn't that correct?

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: You have got a long way to go to try to prosecute people, the press for the publication of material. With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material that is not something that I have ever been involved and heard of or would think would be a wise policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, that was May 15th. Nine days after that the Department of Justice acknowledged that, in fact, Attorney General Holder did sign off on the search warrant for Chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen here at Fox News. That listed him as a co-conspirator in leak case.

Now, the House Judiciary Committee is investigating whether the attorney general lied back on May 15th. This as the Daily Beast had some interesting quotes today from unnamed sources about the attorney general.  Quote, "For Attorney General Eric Holder, the gravity of the situation didn't fully sink in until Monday morning when he read The Post's front page story, sitting at his kitchen table. Quoting from the affidavit, the story detailed how agents had tracked Rosen's movements in and out of the State Department. Perused his private e-mails and traced the timing of his calls to the State Department security advisor suspected of leaking to him. Then the story, quoting the stark, clinical language of the affidavit, described Rosen as 'at the very least...an aider, abettor, and/or co-conspirator in the crime. Holder knew that justice would be besieged by the twin leak probes. But according to aides, he was also beginning to feel a creeping sense of personal remorse."

We are back with the panel, A.B.?

A.B. STODDARD, THEHILL.COM: Well, what was interesting is if you look at the timeline of why the House Judiciary Committee is examining the question of perjury.  Attorney General Holder said that he had recused himself from these matters -- though we have no paper trail and no official record of that -- from the leak investigations and didn't know what the happened in the A.P. -- Associated Press fishing expedition.

Though he personally signed off on a search warrant for James Rosen's communications and the only way you can get that -- and they shopped three judges according to the New Yorker, Ryan Lizza's reporting today -- is to make the accusation of espionage and to assert that he was a co-conspirator.

And then there you saw him in that hearing room say, I don't know what that means, and it's not – he is, at this point is going to have a lot of problems under renewed bipartisan pressure answering the question of whether or not he has compromised his ability to lead the department through any of this.

BAIER: There was -- I mean, he may be feeling a creeping sense of personal remorse but, Charles, there is a creeping sense that Democrats are joining Republicans and calling for Holder to step down.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: The fact that he says that the gravity of the situation didn't sink in until yesterday makes you wonder if he was anesthetized. I mean, everybody in town understood when we heard from the Justice Department last week, that he not only signed off on the search warrant, but he discussed it. If he had only signed off, he could have done a Hillary and said -- on the stuff about the security in Benghazi she signed it, but she never read it.

It's true there are a lot of stuff that a secretary signs and doesn't read. So it's plausible. But, if you discussed it, it's not plausible.  So, either he lied, or, the other explanation is he forgot. But if he forgot then he is utterly incompetent and if he goes and speaks about this under oath and doesn't check into the past into what he had done -- this is a couple of years before -- it's more incompetent.

I feel sorry for him. I'm not sure how he escapes this. And to the extent that he involves a president who stands with him and says I have all the confidence in him. And the president puts Holder in charge of his own investigation. I think if you hurt the president then you are truly a liability.

BAIER: Daily Beast, unnamed sources and I think they are referencing the Monday when the Washington Post first did the story when they're talking about Monday. But, the interesting thing, Steve, is that you have many Democrats now saying that they are concerned.

STEVE HAYES, WEEKLY STANDARD: Yeah, because I think they can read. If you look at the arguments that the Justice Department is making, you look at the pattern of behavior here, both with respect to what happened with James Rosen and also with respect to the testimony that Eric Holder has given previously on things like Fast and Furious, which had to be retracted and recast.

This is somebody who no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt and I don't feel sorry for him. I think this is somebody who dug his own hole. He is in trouble. The Daily Beast piece was interesting because it was a long piece that basically made no real substantive defense of his actions, only said that he felt bad about them. That's extraordinary. If your best spin is that you feel sorry for it, you are in trouble.

BAIER: That is it for the panel but stay tuned for proof that morning show pitches are really not always that exciting.

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