Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Eric Holder To Be Next Attorney General

Newsweek reports Eric Holder will be the next Attorney General.

Holder, who served as deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration, still has to undergo a formal “vetting” review by the Obama transition team before the selection is final and is publicly announced, said one of the sources, who asked not to be identified talking about the transition process. But in the discussions over the past few days, Obama offered Holder the job and he accepted, the source said. The announcement is not likely until after Obama announces his choices to lead the Treasury and State departments.

Holder, 57, has been on Obama’s “short list” for attorney general from the outset. A partner at the D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling, Holder served as co-chief (along with Caroline Kennedy) of Obama’s vice-presidential selection process. He also actively campaigned for Obama throughout the year and grew personally close to the president-elect. Holder has not returned a call seeking comment; a spokeswoman for the Obama transition team told Newsweek in an e-mail early Tuesday afternoon that no decision has been made.

The Obama transition has been privately asking Senators if they will vote for Holder. A serious obstacle is Holder's role in the pardoning of Marc Rich. The latter was indicted for owing $48 million in back taxes and illegal oil deals with Iran. Rich refused to return from Switzerland to face prosecution.

Two interesting side note: Rudolph Giuliani was the prosecuting U.S. Attorney. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was Rich's defense attorney.

Denise Rich, the former wife of Marc Rich, contributed to the Clinton Library and the Democratic Party. Bill Clinton pardoned Rich his final day in the White House.

The Justice Department was been damaged with the U.S. Attorneys scandal. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wrecked morale within the Department of Justice. Obama has stated he wants to appoint Republicans to cabinet positions. Republican U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is well-respected. His appointment would send a message that Obama wants to be a reformer and reach across the aisle. Fitzgerald's independent streak and investigation into Obama contributor Antoin Rezko probably makes his nomination improbable. Fitzgerald's appointment would prove Obama is serious about having a cabinet of rivals. Fitzgerald conviction of Libby for the Valerie Plame scandal, may cause a Republican filibuster. Fitzrerald would not be a lock for confirmation.

Holder sends the message that Obama wants a party loyalist in the Justice Department. Color me unimpressed.

Update: The Obama team is confident the Rich controversy won't stop Holder from being confirmed.

One person involved in the talks said the Obama team has received some assurances that, while the Rich pardon would certainly come up during hearings, the nomination likely wouldn't be held up. All spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.

The transition team must be confident they have the votes. It is hard to imagine Holder being nominated, with a GOP majority, in the Senate.

Update: Crooks and Liars has video of an MSNBC story on Holder.

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At November 18, 2008 7:13 PM , Blogger tas said...

Given Marc Rich, why nominate a candidate with such baggage? This seems odd.


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