Quantcast
Connect with us

Yale professor: Growing divide between Holder, Obama could end with AG’s resignation

Published

on

US Attorney General Eric Holder took office pledging a sharp shift away from the last administration’s policies, but an apparent change of heart in the White House could see the top lawyer leave his job.

Holder, 59, is the first African-American to hold the top legal post, and was generally regarded with bipartisan respect when he took office.

But a series of gaffes, fights with both Republicans and Democrats, and apparent disagreements between him and the White House have left Holder looking increasingly embattled.

ADVERTISEMENT

He came under renewed fire when he told lawmakers Tuesday that Osama bin Laden would not be captured alive, and that US officials would read legal rights to the Al-Qaeda leader’s corpse.

But the ridicule and attacks that followed are only the latest blows Holder has faced in the 14 months since he took office pledging to reverse the worst “war on terror” legal abuses sanctioned by former president George W. Bush’s administration.

Ultra-conservative activists have questioned his ethics and even his patriotism over his decision to hire lawyers who defended terror suspects to Justice Department posts.

He has also raised the ire of Republicans by seeking to investigate CIA practices during the “war on terror,” even over White House opposition.

ADVERTISEMENT

This week, Republicans also reproached him for having failed to inform them during his nomination hearings that he had supported a lawsuit challenging Bush-era legal policies on detention.

But the attorney general also faces political attacks from the opposite end of the political spectrum, with left-leaning lawmakers and activists angered by his decision not to penalize Bush administration lawyers for justifying the use of harsh interrogations techniques.

They are also outraged that the Justice Department has agreed to continue prosecuting some terror suspects before the military tribunals set up by Bush’s administration.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the final straw for Holder may be the increasing distance between him and Obama on national security issues.

The White House has relented on its original insistence to prosecute five men accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks before a civilian court in New York City.

Strongly defended by Holder, the plan was intended in part as a symbolic gesture to showcase how differently Obama dealt with the prickly subject than his predecessor.

ADVERTISEMENT

Holder has refused to back away from the plan even as reports suggest the White House will agree to prosecute the five men before a military court in return for Republican support for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

“I think if the president overrules him on what should be done with the detainees, I think he should resign,” Yale Law School professor Eugene Fidell told AFP.

“I think a disagreement on a matter as profound as this is the type of thing that people can conscientiously resign about.

ADVERTISEMENT

“If you consider that you’re not getting anywhere and that the matter is important enough, then you leave,” he added.

According to Michael Gerson, a former Bush adviser, Holder is now “the most endangered member of the Obama cabinet.”

“Just about everything he has touched has backfired,” Gerson wrote in The Washington Post, adding that the White House has shown little inclination to defend Holder against his latest critics.

Holder’s spokesman Matthew Miller declined to comment.

ADVERTISEMENT

The attorney general’s dilemma is similar to that of Greg Craig, Obama’s former White House counsel, said John Bellinger, a conservative former legal advisor to then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

Craig was a leading proponent of the administration’s pledge to close the controversial Guantanamo facility within a year, but resigned in November as it became clear the deadline would be missed.

“What happened in both cases is that while the administration made the right decision, they did not do enough to lay the groundwork to get political support for the decisions that they have made,” Bellinger said.

Holder’s future plans remain unclear, but the resignation of such a high-profile cabinet member could put Obama himself in an awkward position.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We do not have much of a tradition of resignation on principles in our political system,” said Fidell. “It doesn’t happen.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Forget the politics — for now: Follow the flowing money in the Ukraine scandal

Published

on

The Ukraine scandal is mostly viewed through the prism of politics — an attempt by President Donald Trump to gain an advantage over a political opponent. But, as most things are, it’s also about money — and we found lots of it flowing between key players in the scandal.

On this week’s episode of “Trump, Inc.,” we follow the money.

First, Let’s Meet Our Cast of Ukraine Players

Richest among them is Dmitry Firtash, an oligarch who has been battling to avoid an extradition flight to Chicago, where he faces federal charges of bribery. The Department of Justice has described Firtash as an “upper-echelon” associate “of Russian organized crime.” (He denies the charges and says the prosecution is politically motivated.)

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Televised impeachment hearings mattered during Watergate — but they may not today: John Dean associate

Published

on

I started a continuing legal education program with John Dean in 2011. We have done over one-hundred-and-fifty programs across the nation since then.

Our first program was about obstruction of justice and how Dean, as Nixon’s White House Counsel, navigated the stormy waters when he turned on the president and became history’s most important whistleblower. Unlike the current whistleblower, Dean had been involved in the cover-up, but ultimately decided he had to end the criminal activity in the White House, with no assurance of anonymity and with the almost certain expectation that he was blowing himself up in the process.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

If you’ve given your DNA to a DNA database, the police may now have access to it

Published

on

In the past week, news has spread of a Florida judge’s decision to grant a warrant allowing police to search one of the world’s largest online DNA databases, for leads in a criminal case.

The warrant reportedly approved the search of open source genealogy database GEDMatch. An estimated 1.3 million users have uploaded their DNA data onto it, without knowing it would be accessible by law enforcement.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image