AG Holder May Quit After November Midterms

Image: AG Holder May Quit After November Midterms

Friday, 25 Apr 2014 10:27 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder plans to stay on through November's mid-term elections and has no timeline for an exit after that, a Justice Department official told Reuters on Friday.

"The Attorney General does not plan to leave before the mid-terms. That does not mean that he is definitely leaving after the mid-terms, just that he is at least staying through that time," the official said.

Urgent: Is Obama Hurting the Economy? (Shocking Poll Results)

There has been speculation over when Holder, 63, might step down from the post he has held since shortly after President Barack Obama took office in 2009. Should Republicans win control of both chambers of Congress in the November elections, it may be difficult for a potential replacement for Holder to be confirmed.

Among Obama's cabinet members, Holder is said to have one of the closest relationships with the president. During his time in office, Holder has taken on issues in line with the president's agenda, such as civil rights, voting rights, and most recently, reducing sentencing for low-level drug offenders.

The Washington Post reports today that Holder planned to stay through the elections but could not confirm his plans beyond that.

But the Post said that Justice Department officials close to Holder claimed that although he planned to stay in office until after the midterms, he would "not commit" to remain on the job after December.

Holder has indicated that he does not want to stay on as attorney general through Obama's second term, the Post said.

The speculation about his early departure began in earnest when he was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center in February feeling faint and with an elevated heart rate.

Although he was released after a few hours, the Post said Holder told friends it was "spooky" and possibly a warning sign that he should spend more time with his family.

But Washington sources tell the newspaper that Holder is in no urgency to leave because he want to complete ongoing initiatives, such as clemency for nonviolent drug offenders, which could result in thousands of federal inmates applying to get out of jail on reduced sentences.

However, Holder's workload certainly appears to have taken a toll on him in recent weeks.

While testifying before the House Oversight Committee for more than three hours, Holder clashed with Rep. Louie Gohmert after the Texas Republican suggested that "contempt" was "not a big deal" to the attorney general.

"You don't want to go there, buddy," Holder quickly snapped back.

Gohmert was referring to the House contempt vote against Holder for ignoring a committee's subpoena to hand a full set of documents related to the bungled firearms operation dubbed "Fast and Furious."

Holder also felt slighted by a comment that Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold made during a House Judicial Committee, saying he did not plan to ask the Justice Department chief any questions because he should have been in jail for contempt.

In fact, the nation's first African-American attorney general was so angry that the next day he changed his speech at a meeting of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network in New York City to attack the "ugly and divisive" treatment he and the president had received from Republicans, implying that their criticism was racist in nature.

Apart from the Fast and Furious controversy, Holder has also been under fire from the GOP for dragging his feet on investigations of the IRS and Benghazi scandals.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

Urgent: Is Obama Hurting the Economy? (Shocking Poll Results)

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