Eric Holder "Leaning Towards" Appointing Torture Prosecutor as Rahm Emanuel Tries To Prevent It

It's about damn time. Attorney General Eric Holder is asserting his independence and it looks like his isn't going to let Rahm Emanuel's Clintonian triangulating get in his way of doing the justice calls for: The investigating and prosecuting war crimes no matter how high up the chain of command. He's won't allow Rahm to turn him into a Janet Reno.

From Newsweek:

...Holder, 58, may be on the verge of asserting his independence in a profound way. Four knowledgeable sources tell NEWSWEEK that he is now leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration's brutal interrogation practices, something the president has been reluctant to do. While no final decision has been made, an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, say these sources, who decline to be identified discussing a sensitive law-enforcement matter. Such a decision would roil the country, would likely plunge Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil Obama's domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform. Holder knows all this, and he has been wrestling with the question for months. "I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president's agenda," he says. "But that can't be a part of my decision."


...As he pored over reports and listened to briefings, he became increasingly troubled. There were startling indications that some interrogators had gone far beyond what had been authorized in the legal opinions issued by the Justice Department, which were themselves controversial. He told one intimate that what he saw "turned my stomach."

It was soon clear to Holder that he might have to launch an investigation to determine whether crimes were committed under the Bush administration and prosecutions warranted. The obstacles were obvious. For a new administration to reach back and investigate its predecessor is rare, if not unprecedented. After having been deeply involved in the decision to authorize Ken Starr to investigate Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, Holder well knew how politicized things could get. He worried about the impact on the CIA, whose operatives would be at the center of any probe. And he could clearly read the signals coming out of the White House. President Obama had already deflected the left wing of his party and human-rights organizations by saying, "We should be looking forward and not backwards" when it came to Bush-era abuses.

Still, Holder couldn't shake what he had learned in reports about the treatment of prisoners at the CIA's "black sites." If the public knew the details, he and his aides figured, there would be a groundswell of support for an independent probe. He raised with his staff the possibility of appointing a prosecutor. According to three sources familiar with the process, they discussed several potential choices and the criteria for such a sensitive investigation. Holder was looking for someone with "gravitas and grit," according to one of these sources, all of whom declined to be named. At one point, an aide joked that Holder might need to clone Patrick Fitzgerald, the hard-charging, independent-minded U.S. attorney who had prosecuted Scooter Libby in the Plamegate affair. In the end, Holder asked for a list of 10 candidates, five from within the Justice Department and five from outside.


But in late June Holder asked an aide for a copy of the CIA inspector general's thick classified report on interrogation abuses. He cleared his schedule and, over two days, holed up alone in his Justice Depart ment office, immersed himself in what Dick Cheney once referred to as "the dark side." He read the report twice, the first time as a lawyer, looking for evidence and instances of transgressions that might call for prosecution. The second time, he started to absorb what he was reading at a more emotional level. He was "shocked and saddened," he told a friend, by what government servants were alleged to have done in America's name. When he was done he stood at his window for a long time, staring at Constitution Avenue.

One of the interesting point in this article that will probably get overlooked is once again, Rahm Emanuel plays a pivotal role in trying do the exact opposite of what should be done. In this case, muzzling Holder on a variety of issues that mustn't be muzzled: Prosecuting everyone related to the torture of terror suspects, Bush Admininstration officals' other varous crimes, the closing of Guantánamo, etc.

Any White House tests an attorney general's strength. But one run by Rahm Emanuel requires a particular brand of fortitude. A legendary enforcer of presidential will, Emanuel relentlessly tries to anticipate political threats that could harm his boss. He hates surprises. That makes the Justice Department, with its independent mandate, an inherently nervous-making place for Emanuel. During the first Clinton administration, he was famous for blitzing Justice officials with phone calls, obsessively trying to gather intelligence, plant policy ideas, and generally keep tabs on the department.


Emanuel and other administration officials could see that the politics of national security was turning against them. When I interviewed a senior White House official in early April, he remarked that Republicans had figured out that they could attack Obama on these issues essentially free of cost. "The genius of the Obama presidency so far has been an ability to keep social issues off the docket," he said. "But now the Republicans have found their dream…issue and they have nothing to lose."

Emanuel's response to the torture memos should not have surprised Holder. In the months since the inauguration, the relationship between the Justice Department and the White House had been marred by surprising tension and acrimony. A certain amount of friction is inherent in the relationship, even healthy. But in the Obama administration the bad blood between the camps has at times been striking.


This is why I said Rahm Emanuel was a terrible choice for Obama's chief of staff and why he should be fired.
Rahm Emanuel was wrong about Howard Dean, the direction of DNC, and Dean'd 50-state strategy. He's wrong on the kind of Health Care Reform Bill that's worth fighting for.

If Rahm Emanuel had gotten his way, Howard Dean wouldn't have taken over and reformed the failed DLC-Clintonite mentality. There wouldn't never have been a 50-State strategy. And there would never have been a President Barack Obama, who built upon Dean's already thriving strategy to win the Presidency.

One of the main reasons Democrats lost control of Congress in such a stunning turnaround during the 1994 midterms elections: Rahm Emanuel & all the other triangulating, Clinton cronies who were more interested in getting a half-assed wins on President Clinton’s books, rather than do what was right for the country – which meant of course stepping up, taking a stand and then fighting tooth & nail for that stand.

Rahm Emanuel implied to the WSJ that in the health care debate, the "public option." If Rahm and his DLC, conservadem stooges get their way - there will be no real health care reform. All there will be is some half-assed piece of bullshit legislation doing nothing the public expects and once again that mentality will kill Democrats at the polls.

Bookmark and Share

blog comments powered by Disqus