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Whitehouse: GOP unreasonable on Holder

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Whitehouse: GOP unreasonable on Holder
Eric Holder testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding his nomination by President-elect Barack Obama to be attorney general on Capitol Hill in Washington on January 15, 2009. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee member suggested Friday Republicans are putting unreasonable "legislative pressure" on Attorney General-designate Eric Holder.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a former U.S. attorney and former Rhode Island attorney general, criticized Republican members of the committee for delaying a vote on Holder's nomination.

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"Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have asked Eric Holder to make a commitment, before he is even confirmed, that he will not prosecute any Bush administration officials for their involvement in acts of torture during the last administration," Whitehouse said in a news release. "Anyone familiar with the criminal justice system -- especially those with experience as prosecutors or judges -- should know that a prosecutor should make no determination about who to prosecute before he or she has all the facts, and particularly not in response to legislative pressure."

The committee's Democratic majority had planned to hold a vote Wednesday on Holder's nomination but Republicans sought more time to look further into the matter. Holder came under intense scrutiny last week as he was grilled on his views about interrogations, the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison camp and his involvement in former President Bill Clinton's 2001 pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich.

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Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he wants more information on whether Holder would pursue criminal prosecutions of "intelligence personnel" involved in detainee interrogations, which critics say have amounted to torture.

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