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Tag: Eric Holder

Former AG Eric Holder Says FBI Director ‘Negatively Affected Public Trust’

Eric Holder, U.S. attorney general from 2009 to 2015.

Eric Holder, U.S. attorney general from 2009 to 2015.

By Eric Holder
For Washington Post

I began my career in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section 40 years ago, investigating cases of official corruption. In the years since, I have seen America’s justice system firsthand from nearly every angle — as a prosecutor, judge, attorney in private practice, and attorney general of the United States. I understand the gravity of the work our Justice Department performs every day to defend the security of our nation, protect the American people, uphold the rule of law and be fair.

That is why I am deeply concerned about FBI Director James B. Comey’s decision to write a vague letter to Congress about emails potentially connected to a matter of public, and political, interest. That decision was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and tradition. And it ran counter to guidance that I put in place four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season. That guidance, which reinforced established policy, is still in effect and applies to the entire Justice Department — including the FBI.

The department has a practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations. Indeed, except in exceptional circumstances, the department will not even acknowledge the existence of an investigation. The department also has a policy of not taking unnecessary action close in time to Election Day that might influence an election’s outcome. These rules have been followed during Republican and Democratic administrations. They aren’t designed to help any particular individual or to serve any political interest. Instead, they are intended to ensure that every investigation proceeds fairly and judiciously; to maintain the public trust in the department’s ability to do its job free of political influence; and to prevent investigations from unfairly or unintentionally casting public suspicion on public officials who have done nothing wrong.

Director Comey broke with these fundamental principles. I fear he has unintentionally and negatively affected public trust in both the Justice Department and the FBI. And he has allowed — again without improper motive — misinformation to be spread by partisans with less pure intentions. Already, we have learned that the importance of the discovery itself may have been overblown. According to the director himself, there is no indication yet that the “newly discovered” emails bear any significance at all. And yet, because of his decision to comment on this development before sufficient facts were known, the public has faced a torrent of conspiracy theories and misrepresentations.

This controversy has its roots in the director’s July decision to hold a news conference announcing his recommendation that the Justice Department bring no charges against Hillary Clinton. Instead of making a private recommendation to the attorney general — consistent with Justice Department policy — he chose to publicly share his professional recommendation, as well as his personal opinions, about the case. That was a stunning breach of protocol. It may set a dangerous precedent for future investigations. It was wrong.

 To read more click here. 

Eric Holder: Plea Deal Possible to Bring Back NSA Leaker Snowden

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department could make a deal to convince NSA leaker Edward Snowden to return to the U.S. after he fled in 2013 following the shocking release of secret surveillance documents.

That’s according to former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who spoke to Yahoo News about the issue.

Holder said the U.S. likely would be interested in striking a deal with the whistleblower and even conceded that Snowden’s document leak “spurred a necessary debate” on surveillance.

“I certainly think there could be a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with. I think the possibility exists.”

But current AG Loretta Lynch didn’t seem as open to a deal.

“This is an ongoing case so I am not going to get into specific details but I can say our position regarding bringing Edward Snowden back to the United States to face charges has not changed,” Lynch spokeswoman Melanie Newman said in an email.

Watch Outgoing AG Eric Holder Bid Farewell to Justice Department

FBI Director Eric Holder bid a heartfelt farewell to the Justice Department on Friday as he stepped aside for his successor.

Holder served as the top law enforcement leader for the past six years.

Loretta Lynch is replacing Holder after she was finally confirmed by the Senate.

“I am proud of you. I’m going to miss you. I am going to miss this building. I am going to miss this institution. More than anything, I am going to miss you all,” Holder told the large crowd that had amassed.

 

Fox News Cries Foul Over Attorney General Eric Holder Denying Exit Interview

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder has given Fox News the stiff-arm on an exit interview, and the news agency is not happy, The Washington Post reports.

“The Attorney General’s decision does a deep disservice to America’s largest cable news audience and the interests of a free press,” Fox News Executive Vice President Michael Clemente said in a statement.

An exit interview with Holder “would have been spectacular, give the backstory,” The Post wrote.

It was discovered in the spring of 2013 that the Justice Department used heavy-handed tactics in pursuing an investigation against Fox News reporter James Rosen, who was falsely accused of being co-conspirator in a case involving former intelligence analyst Stephen Kim.

Fox News said it wants a chance to address the facts.

“Ultimately, however, we’re not surprised that Holder would try to evade a thorough accounting of his record in office, including his decision to investigate our Chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen through an illegal seizure of emails and phone records of Rosen and his parents. Late today, the DOJ press office said ‘they look forward to accommodating’ FOX News at a future time.’ We’re hopeful but realistic about whether that will actually happen.”

Justice Department Considering Suing Ferguson Over Racial Discrimination

Michael Brown

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is prepared to sue the city of Ferguson, Mo., if city leaders balk at revising discriminatory police tactics, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to reveal the findings from two separate federal investigations into the police shooting of a black 18-year-old, Michael Brown.

Federal investigators are trying to determine whether police violated anyone’s civil rights.

While it’s unlikely that feds will charge the officer who pulled the trigger, the Justice Department is expected to allege that police targeted minorities during traffic stops.

“I think everybody will see when we announce our results that the process that we have engaged in is, as I said back at the time when I went to Ferguson, independent, thorough and based on all the facts,” Holder said Tuesday. “And I am confident that people will be satisfied with the results that will be announced.”

AG Holder Says Drug Cases Down Because Less Focus on Smaller Offenders

Holder speaks in Philadelphia/doj photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors handled fewer drug prosecutions last year because of a new approach to handling smaller non-violent offenders, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder said at a National Press Club address that prosecutions for drug cases fell 6% last year.

Holder said the feds are placing more focus on larger drug dealers, instead of smaller offenders.

Prior to the change in focus, Holder said drug users were getting sent to prison with no possibility of parole.

“For years prior to this administration, federal prosecutors were not only encouraged — but required — to always seek the most severe prison sentence possible for all drug cases, no matter the relative risk they posed to public safety,” he said. “I have made a break from that philosophy.”

He added: “These numbers show that a dramatic shift is underway in the mind-set of prosecutors handling nonviolent drug offenses. I believe we have taken steps to institutionalize this fairer, more practical approach such that it will endure for years to come.”

Other Stories of Interest

 

Politico: Eric Holder Plugs His Legacy on Leak Cases

Reporter James Risen

By JOSH GERSTEIN
Politico

WASHINGTON — A federal jury’s decision Monday to convict a former CIA officer for leaking top-secret information to a New York Times reporter was a big win for prosecutors — and for Attorney General Eric Holder’s new approach to handling sensitive cases involving journalists.

Holder decided to spare the reporter in the case, New York Times correspondent James Risen, from testifying against his sources. The move could become an important part of the soon-to-depart attorney general’s legacy and a guidepost for future government leak cases given that the government won the case without much testimony from the reporter who received the information.

Holder and his allies are arguing that they have helped secure journalists’ First Amendment rights with the maneuver, but whistleblower advocates worry that the prison time ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling is facing in the wake of the trial will wind up silencing federal employees seeking to expose government malfeasance or ineptitude.

To read the full story click here. 

 

Senate Confirmation Hearings Begin Today for Loretta Lynch for Attorney General

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch faces questions Wednesday as Senate confirmation hearings begin for her nomination for Attorney General.

It will be the first Republican-lead confirmation session of the Obama administration, the NBC affiliate in New York points out.

Lynch, who is considered a very able U.S. Attorney, has gotten praise from both sides of the political aisle and is expected to get confirmed. She would replace Eric Holder.

To read more click here. 

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