Politics

Fireworks between Brit Hume, Juan Williams over Holder’s role in FNC-Rosen probe

Photo of Jeff Poor
Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

On Sunday’s broadcast of “Fox News Sunday,” senior network contributor Brit Hume and his Fox News colleague Juan Williams had a heated exchange over the Justice Department’s probe of Fox News Channel’s James Rosen.

At the center of the debate was whether or not Attorney General Eric Holder acted improperly in authorizing the probe.

WILLIAMS: You would come to the conclusion that a working reporter with a long-standing, excellent career in Washington is somehow now involved in espionage. That is the question.
WALLACE: Well, he is …
HUME: The problem is, it went to Holder and he OK’d it.
WILLIAMS: He OK’d the work of his investigators, and so now as the attorney general–
HUME: You are saying he is not ultimately responsible as the head man of the Justice Department …
WILLIAMS: Well, that’s why ….
HUME: … who personally signed off on this?
WILLIAMS: That’s — he signed off on the question …
HUME: He signed off…
WILLIAMS: … to go back and look at the work of the investigators …

Once Hume was able to establish that Holder had signed off on the probe into Rosen, he proceeded to debate Williams as to whether it was appropriate for Holder to head the investigation into the probe’s propriety.

HUME: I understand that, but how he — if he signed off on it, how can he investigate it?
WILLIAMS: Because now is an opportunity, and he is the exact right person as attorney general of the United States to see what prosecutors did and how they came to this conclusion.
HUME: Well, he is …
WILLIAMS: We’ve seen this …
HUME: Wasn’t he supposed to see all of that before he signed off on the affidavit?
WILLIAMS: You cannot see everything. I mean you — what he did was to say, these are good people, he trusts his people. Now it’s time for someone including …
HUME: I don’t — I don’t know whether he said anything like that or not.
WILLIAMS: I understand–
HUME: What you do know is, and what we all know is that when that affidavit came to him, rife with assertions that this reporter doing his job, was acting in a criminal way, he OK’d it.
WILLIAMS: No, what we know is in the AP case, for example, he recused himself …
WALLACE: We’re running out of time.
WILLIAMS: Let me finish. He recused himself in that case because he had — was a potential leaker.
HUME: I understand that. We are not talking about that case.
WILLIAMS: In this case, in the Rosen case, he had nothing to do with it. All he was doing was signing an affidavit sent to him by his underlings.

The two continued the debate on the show’s web-only “Panel Plus” segment, where Hume maintained that the affidavit approved by Holder was problematic for him because in order to obtain the authority to seize Rosen’s records, he had to do so under the premise Rosen was being charged with a crime.

Watch:

Follow Jeff on Twitter