Are Eric Holder's Days Numbered?
This has not been a good week for Attorney General Eric Holder. He is now in the doghouse -- or perhaps somewhere worse -- after the White House was reported to be “nearing a decision” to reverse Holder on trying terrorists in a civilian court in New York City. According to the Washington Post, “President Obama’s advisers” are about to revoke Holder’s controversial decision and send the terrorists to a military tribunal. The Post also says they may scuttle plans for any civilian trials for terrorists.
The Post says the decision is being made by the president’s “advisers” -- Holder, apparently, has had little input on the reversal. If true, this morning’s report is a direct repudiation of the AG.
Holder’s decision has been sheer disaster for Democrats in New York, and the political backlash in one of the country’s most liberal states was not lost on the White House. The decision has also been unpopular throughout the nation, and at least one prominent activist who lost a family member on September 11 has asked for Holder's resignation.
Deborah Burlingame told PJM:
I think its time for Holder to step aside, because he’s botched so much at this point.
Burlingame cited a trio of recent controversies engulfing the attorney general: the KSM trial, the controversy over terrorist defense attorneys secretly working on the Justice Department detainee policy, and Holder’s decision to offer civil rights and lawyers to Christmas bomber Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab.
Senator Chuck Grassley, ranking minority member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told PJM that the New York City trial reversal was “welcome news," but:
It appears that the consequences of having these trials on U.S. soil weren’t properly vetted before the original decision was made. This should be of great concern to the American people.
From another congressional source:
Holder has lost the trust of people on Capitol Hill that he is capable of making good decisions. ... It’s not clear that he can make sound decisions.
Burlingame also said that Justice should be stripped of the responsibility of creating future detainee policies, returning it to the Defense Department:
Frankly I would like [to see] the taking of the detainee policy out of the Department of Justice and putting it back [with] the Department of Defense, where it belongs.
Holder and the administration are getting heat from their political base, too. “If this stunning reversal comes to pass, President Obama will deal a death blow to his own Justice Department, not to mention American values,” American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.
Senator Grassley told PJM that it was difficult for Americans to swallow the idea of granting greater legal rights to terrorists than to our own troops who face a military court martial:
The administration has had a difficult time justifying the rationale for giving the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on America more rights than our men and women in military, fighting to protect our homeland, who are court martialed.
Burlingame said Holder surprised local officials with his decision to try terrorists in New York, and he was deaf to public sentiment:
Eric Holder went about it in a wholly incompetent way, including choosing the venue. He knew it was problematic and yet he did not consult with people in New York City. He sprung this decision on them and earned their disfavor from the very beginning. I think he wanted the decision to be a fait acompli so the people could not object to it. And eventually it was his undoing.
Ms. Burlingame’s brother was the pilot of United Airlines Flight 93, which went down in Pennsylvania after being hijacked by 9/11 terrorists. She also is a central figure who has rallied 9/11 families in New York and who sits on the board of Keep America Safe with Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol.