Former Attorney General Eric Holder claims he is disturbed by attacks on the Department of Justice and the FBI by President Trump as well as the failure of Jeff Sessions to stand up for the employees of those agencies.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Wednesday, Holder complained about Trump’s actions and suggested the president’s firing of former FBI chief James Comey and other incidents relating to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation add up to an obstruction of justice by the president.
“One of the things that disturbs me the most is the fact this attorney general has for whatever reason been relatively silent,” Holder said, referring to Sessions, noting that attorney generals are supposed to “shield your people from political pressure.”
“When attacks are going against career people at the FBI, career people at the United States Department of Justice, I have to think that the leadership knows these are spurious attacks, that they’re inconsistent with the rep tags that these people have, the way in which they’ve conducted themselves over the years,” he added.
Holder, who headed the Justice Department under former President Obama from 2009 to 2015, continues to take shots at Trump and his administration apparently oblivious to the irony of his own history and that of his former boss. The only cabinet member in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress, Holder will forever be linked to the Fast and Furious scandal in which a failed DOJ sting allowed weapons from the U.S. to pass into the hands of suspected Mexican gun smugglers.
“If the attorney general fails at that, is there a plan B in terms of doing the most to uphold the rule of law, uphold the independence of law enforcement when the attorney general doesn’t take that heat?” Maddow asked Holder. “What are our other options as a country?”
“Well, you know, our institutions are strong. Our norms are being tested, but they are also strong. The people who work in the department, the people who work at the FBI are strong. And they will continue to conduct themselves in appropriate ways,” Holder replied. “They will make tough decisions and conduct investigations. But they do so under a pressure that I think is in some ways unnecessary in the sense that an attorney general might blunt some of it.”
With a straight face, the Obama loyalist elaborated on what he thinks the “real problem” is.
“But the real problem here is the president,” he said.
“The president going after named career people. The president saying things about the integrity of the those two institutions, the justice Department, the FBI,” Holder continued. “No other president has ever said those kinds of things, conducted himself in that way. And he’s doing long-term harm to the reliability and integrity of the Justice Department and to the FBI.”
The vocal Trump critic added that “long after he’s gone, we will see the impact of these attacks.”
Holder plans to “make a decision by the end of the year about whether or not there’s another chapter in my government service.” He did not rule out a 2020 presidential run, responding, “We’ll see” when asked about it on Monday.
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