Attorney General Eric Holder will resign on Thursday, several media outlets have confirmed. “Attorney General Eric Holder will on Thursday announce his plans to leave his post at the Justice Department once a successor is confirmed, a Justice Department official said,” Politico reported. “Holder has been in the job for nearly six years, since the start of the Obama administration.”
“Eric Holder Jr., the nation’s first black U.S. attorney general, is preparing to announce his resignation Thursday after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and five and a half years of fights with Republicans in Congress,” National Public Radio added.
Holder was voted on a bipartisan basis into both criminal and civil contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with a congressional investigation into the gun walking program Operation Fast and Furious, run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) with oversight from senior Department of Justice (DOJ) officials. A total of 130 members of the House of Representatives called for him to resign in 2011 and 2012, as did eight U.S. Senators and every GOP presidential candidate in 2012, including the eventual presidential nominee Mitt Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
As the House Oversight Committee voted to hold Holder in contempt on both the criminal and civil citations, President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over the Fast and Furious documents that Holder refused to provide to Congress pursuant to subpoenas from chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Ron Machen, declined to prosecute Holder on the criminal contempt of Congress citation, but the House of Representatives is currently pursuing ongoing legal action against the administration using the civil contempt citation to fight to have the president’s executive privilege overturned.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Issa have both argued the president’s privilege assertion over those Fast and Furious documents is invalid and illegal because he used the lower form of the two types of executive privilege–deliberative process privilege–rather than presidential communications privilege. If Obama used the higher form, it would have meant that either he or his senior White House staff was aware of the gun walking tactics employed in Operation Fast and Furious, something that both Obama and Holder have denied. Usually, deliberative process privilege claims are considered invalid when there is even a suspicion of government wrongdoing–something Issa and Grassley have noted time and again–and in this case the government has admitted to wrongdoing.
Nonetheless, President Obama continues to hide these documents from the American people and from Congress.
Holder accused this reporter in November 2011 at a White House press conference of being “behind” the calls for his resignation because this reporter had contacted various members of Congress, asking if they agreed with the surging calls for him to resign.
“You guys need to — you need to stop this. It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening. You guys are behind it,” Holder said of this reporter’s efforts while working for The Daily Caller.
Calls for Holder’s resignation have continued since 2011 for reasons other than Operation Fast and Furious.
Holder’s press team also coordinated against various media outlets using far left-wing advocacy groups like the George Soros-funded Media Matters for America (MMFA). MMFA, which is led by pro-Hillary Clinton activist David Brock, used talking points and direction provided by then-Holder spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler to smear this reporter, Issa, Breitbart News reporters, ex-DOJ officials and whistleblowers, and reporters from across the media.
Emails recently uncovered via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by The Daily Caller found that Holder’s press aide Schmaler specifically singled out and targeted this reporter.
“As revealed in the FOIA docs, Media Matters Deputy Research Director Matt Gertz sent a post concerning the NRA’s growing contributions to Holder’s critics to DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, Holder’s top press flack who resigned in March, 2013,” the Daily Caller’s Betsy Rothstein wrote.
In response to that email, Schmaler wrote back to Gertz: “Thanks, you know boyle has been doing robo calls to top members right? This is campaign mounted by daily caller. He has called 60 offices and gotten to 8 last week.”
“Yeah, that was what my original piece on the story was about,” Gertz replied.
The terminology that was provided to Media Matters by the Department of Justice about this reporter–the word “campaign” specifically–appeared in subsequent Media Matters posts about this reporter.
The efforts to silence reporting on Fast and Furious are not the only questionable activity Holder and his team have been involved in with regards to the media. The DOJ labeled Fox News’ James Rosen a “co-conspirator” in an effort used to monitor him and targeted the Associated Press by monitoring the news agency’s communications.
Holder has been a lightning rod for scandal since he was confirmed in 2009. Right off the bat, he declined to prosecute the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) for voter intimidation at voting stations in 2008 in Philadelphia, despite efforts by career prosecutors at the DOJ to do so. He has been involved in the Trayvon Martin case in Florida in 2012, the Michael Brown case in Missouri this year, and in allegations by whistleblowers that Holder stopped the prosecution of alleged financial criminals, politicians, and DOJ officials who are accused of having taken bribes in connection with a U.S. Virgin Islands telecom cooperative. Just like how the DOJ originally denied guns were walked in Fast and Furious and has since retracted that denial, the DOJ denied the Virgin Islands scandal’s early report.