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It Didn't Work... Eric Holder

- August 3, 2012

For His Entire Tenure As Attorney General, Eric Holder Has Served A Steady Stream Of Scandals, Gaffes, And Mismanagement

QUESTIONS PERSIST ABOUT HOLDER'S KNOWLEDGE OF

OPERATION "FAST AND FURIOUS"

On May 3, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder Testified To Congress That He Only Became Aware Of "Fast And Furious" "Over The Last Few Weeks" In Spring, 2011. "On May 3, 2011, Holder told a Judiciary Committee hearing, 'I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.'" (Sharyl Attkisson, "ATF Fast And Furious: New Documents Show Attorney General Eric Holder Was Briefed In July 2010," CBS News, 10/03/11)

  • But Documents Showed Holder Had Received Briefings About "Fast And Furious" Since 2010. "Internal Justice Department memos released last week show that Holder was notified about the existence of the operation as early as last year. Holder testified in May before the House Judiciary Committee that he did not know about the operation until recently. The White House and the DOJ said that Holder was referring to when he was made aware of the controversial and taboo tactics used in the operation." (Jordy Yager, "Issa: Holder's Defense On Fast And Furious 'Has Reached A New Low'," The Hill, 10/10/11)
  • Holder Corrected His Previous Testimony About "Fast and Furious," Saying It Was "Inaccurate" And "Imprecise." "Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told Senate Republicans on Tuesday that the Justice Department provided 'inaccurate' information to Congress on the 'Fast and Furious' gun-trafficking sting and said that his congressional testimony about when he learned of the controversial operation had been imprecise." (Jerry Markon, "Holder Grilled On 'Fast And Furious,' Admits Mistakes," The Washington Post , 11/8/11)

Asked About When He First Heard Of "Fast And Furious," Holder Said He Meant "Couple Of Months," Not "Weeks" As He Previously Testified. "Under gentler questioning from Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the committee chairman, Holder also acknowledged the imprecision of his May 3 testimony. At that hearing, he said he 'probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.' On Tuesday, Holder amended his recollection, saying that he had actually learned about the program at the beginning of this year. 'I should probably have said a couple of months,' said Holder, who defended his overall handling of the controversy as 'responsible' and made it clear that he has no plans to resign, as some Republicans have urged." (Jerry Markon, "Holder Grilled On 'Fast And Furious,' Admits Mistakes," The Washington Post , 11/8/11)

The Dallas Morning News : "Attorney General Eric Holder And His Department Of Justice Have Expended Far More Energy Covering Up Than Coming Clean." "Months into a congressional investigation into Project Gunrunner and its Arizona-led wing, Operation Fast and Furious, we know only a little more. In large part, this is because Attorney General Eric Holder and his Department of Justice have expended far more energy covering up than coming clean." (Editorial, "Details Only Get Worse From ATF's Fast And Furious Fiasco," The Dallas Morning News , 8/19/11)

Holder Testified To "Lawmakers That The Department Was Not Planning To Give Any Documents" To Congress Regarding Ongoing Investigations Into "Fast And Furious." "In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last month, Holder told lawmakers that the department was not planning to give any documents created after Feb. 4, 2011, to Congress, saying that he had taken the unprecedented step and released to Issa's committee a score of documents prior to Feb. 4 detailing the letter's creation." (Jordy Yager, "Rep. Issa Threatens Holder With Contempt Over 'Fast And Furious' Operation," The Hill, 1/31/12)

  • Holder: "We Have Withheld Information That Pertains To Ongoing Investigations." "With regard to the documents that you talked about, we have not withheld any documents that are responsive to the matters that you have-that you have asked us about. We have withheld information that pertains to ongoing investigations. That is the thing that might have limited our document production. But, again, what we produced on February the 4th is unlike anything that any committee in any part of this Congress, Senate or House, has ever seen before. And I want to make clear, as we said in that letter, that is not precedential, not holding, and I don't think any future attorney general should be expected to do that. But given the nature of what we did in withdrawing that February 4th letter, it seemed to me to make sense to make an exception to what has been a long-recognized rule." (Attorney General Eric Holder, Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. House Of Representatives, Testimony , 12/8/11, pp. 42-3)

Justice Department Whistleblowers Cast Doubt On Holder's Assertions That The DOJ Did Not Know About "Fast And Furious"

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) Said Court-Sealed Wiretap Applications Leaked From Whistleblowers Show That "Senior Justice Department Officials Learned About The Operation Earlier Than They Had Acknowledged." "Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee also grilled Holder over the botched 'Fast and Furious' operation, in which federal agents in Arizona allowed suspected arms traffickers to buy more than 2,000 guns in order to track them to a Mexican drug cartel. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) slammed onto the dais court-sealed wiretap applications in the case, which he said he had received from whistleblowers. He claimed that they showed that senior Justice Department officials learned about the operation earlier than they had acknowledged." (Sari Horwitz, "Republicans Clash With Attorney General Holder Over Voter ID Laws, Gun Sting," The Washington Post , 6/7/12)

Holder's Refusal To Turn Over Documents In The Investigation Led To The House Holding Him In Contempt Of Congress

"The House Of Representatives Voted 255-67 On Thursday To Hold Attorney General Eric Holder In Criminal Contempt For Refusing To Turn Over Documents Related To The Fast And Furious Gun-Running Sting." ("House Votes To Hold Holder In Contempt," CNN, 6/28/12)

Seventeen House Democrats Joined Republicans In A Bipartisan Vote To Hold Holder In Contempt Of Congress Over "Fast And Furious." "More than 100 Democrats left the House floor before the vote, but 17 moderate Democrats stayed behind and joined with Republicans in voting for contempt, robbing the Obama administration and congressional Democrats of its main argument that the vote was a blatant partisan maneuver to discredit Holder and the White House in an election year." (Ed O'Keefe, "Which Democrats Voted To Hold Eric Holder In Contempt Of Congress?," The Washington Post's " 2Chambers ," 6/29/12)

HOLDER WANTED TO TRY 9/11 TERROR SUSPECTS IN FEDERAL CIVILIAN COURTS

Holder's Decision To Try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Blocks From Ground Zero Was Shelved By Obama

In November 2009, Holder Announced That The 9/11 Terrorists Would Be Tried In New York City Civilian Court. "Today, I am announcing that the Department of Justice will pursue prosecution in federal court of the five individuals accused of conspiring to commit the 9/11 attacks...The 9/11 cases that will be pursued in federal court have been jointly assigned to prosecutors from the Southern District of New York and the Eastern District of Virginia and will be brought in Manhattan in the Southern District of New York." (Eric Holder, Attorney General Announces Forum Decisions for Guantanamo Detainees, 11/13/09)

Holder Failed To Consult With Obama On Terror Trial Decision. PBS' JIM LEHRER: "So, you just told him what your decision was; you didn't say, 'What do you think about it, Mr. President?'" HOLDER: "Nope. Told him last night-or had relayed to him what I was going to do last night while he was on Air Force One on his way to Asia." (PBS' " News Hour With Jim Lehrer," 11/13/09)

  • Holder Failed To Consult With Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano About The Terror Trials. SEN. HUTCHISON (R-TX): "So, were you consulting in the beginning before the decision was made to bring them to New York for the trial?" SEC. NAPOLITANO: "I was not, not in the sense of being consulted as to whether security concerns would preclude the ability to try them in New York, but I'm very comfortable with the decision to try them in New York." ( Senate Committee On Commerce, Science, And Transportation Hearing , 12/2/09, Video At 45:40 Mark)
  • And Holder Failed To Consult With New York Mayor Bloomberg Or The NYPD Commissioner. "A spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg said the Mayor was only informed the morning when Attorney General Eric Holder made his announcement...NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said the Justice Department did not consult the city officials before deciding to send Khalid Sheikh Mohammed...to New York City for trial. 'There was no consultation...with the police department...'" (Jonathan Dienst, "NYPD Commish: Nobody Asked Us About Hosting The 9/11 Trials," NBC News-New York, 12/2/09)
  • Rather Than Consulting The President, Holder Consulted With His Wife And Brother. PBS'S JIM LEHRER: "Did you talk to anybody outside the government?" ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: "I talked to my wife..." LEHRER: "Yes? OK." HOLDER: "...about what she thought. And I actually talked to my brother, who's a retired Port Authority police officer who served..." LEHRER: "Oh, is that right? Yes." (PBS's "News Hour With Jim Lehrer," 11/13/09)

Holder's Defining Event As Attorney General Was Shelved By President Obama. "He believed that the accused Sept. 11, 2001, conspirators should be tried not by the military but in federal court, saying such a trial would be the 'defining event' of his tenure as the nation's chief law enforcement officer. He kept pushing, even as the White House quietly shelved the idea and congressional Democrats joined Republicans in opposition." (Jerry Markon, "Attorney General Holder Unbowed On 9/11 Trials, Despite Reversal," The Washington Post , 4/5/11)

Terror Suspect Ahmed Ghailani Was Tried In Civilian Court And Acquitted Of All But One Of The More Than 280 Charges Against Him

Attorney General Holder Spoke Tough About The Prosecution Of Ahmed Ghailani And Said That He Should Be Held Accountable For His Actions In The Embassy Bombings. HOLDER: "By prosecuting Ahmed Ghailani in federal court, we will ensure that he finally answers for his alleged role in the bombing of our embassies in Tanzania And Kenya." ("Accused East Africa Embassy Bomber Held At Guantanamo Bay To Be Prosecuted In U.S. Federal Court," Department Of Justice, 5/21/09)

Ghailani Was Acquitted For All But One Of The More Than 280 Charges Against Him. "The first former Guantanamo detainee to be tried in a civilian court was acquitted on Wednesday of all but one of more than 280 charges of conspiracy and murder in the 1998 terrorist bombings of the United States Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania...The defendant, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, 36, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to destroy government buildings and property. He was acquitted of four counts of conspiracy, including conspiring to kill Americans and to use weapons of mass destruction." (Benjamin Weiser, "Detainee Acquitted On Most Counts In '98 Bombings," The New York Times, 11/17/10)

  • Ghailani Was Found Not Guilty On Every Single Murder Charge That He Faced . "The first former Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in federal criminal court was found guilty on a single conspiracy charge Wednesday but cleared on 284 other counts. The outcome, a surprise, seriously undermines-and could doom-the Obama administration's plans to put other Guantanamo detainees on trial in U.S. civilian courts." (Peter Finn, "Terror Detainee Largely Acquitted," The Washington Post, 11/18/10)

If Ghailani Had Been Acquitted On All Counts, "The Administration Would Then Have Faced A Terrible Choice Between Releasing Him" Or Holding Him "In Military Detention Despite His Acquittal." "Imagine that Ghailani had been acquitted on all counts. The administration would then have faced a terrible choice between releasing him or-as the attorney general and Judge Kaplan have said is possible-continuing to hold him in military detention indefinitely despite his acquittal. The first option would be unsafe for the nation and suicidal politically. The second option would look terrible in light of an acquittal and would harm the legitimacy of every subsequent terrorist trial. This terrible choice-which came close to becoming a reality-reveals why military detention is fundamental and appropriate here. The reason the first option is unsafe and the second option is available is that Ghailani helped conduct a major terrorist operation on behalf of a group with which the country is at war. Military detention was designed precisely to prevent such fighters from returning to the battlefield. It is a tradition-sanctioned, congressionally authorized, court-blessed, resource-saving, security-preserving, easier-than-trial option for long-term terrorist incapacitation." (Benjamin Wittes And Jack Goldsmith, Op-Ed, "Skip The Trials For Terrorists," The Washington Post, 11/19/10)

HOLDER DECIDED TO READ MIRANDA RIGHTS TO THE CHRISTMAS DAY BOMBER AFTER LESS THAN AN HOUR OF INTERROGATION

Attorney General Eric Holder Made A Decision To Give Christmas Day Bomber Miranda Rights Upon His Arrest. "Holder says he made the decision to read the underwear bomber suspect his Miranda rights..." (Kasie Hunt, "Eric Holder: I Ordered Miranda Rights," Politico, 2/3/10)

  • The Christmas Day Bomber Was Read His Miranda Rights After Just Fifty Minutes Of Interrogations. "He talked to agents for about 50 minutes on the day of his arrest. Doctors interrupted the interrogation to sedate him and treat his injuries. When Abdulmutallab awakened, he stopped cooperating, officials said, and it was then that agents advised him of his Miranda rights against self-incrimination." (Richard A. Serrano and Greg Miller, "Officials Say Bomb Suspect Talking Again," Los Angeles Times, 2/3/10)
  • Eric Holder Said That "All Relevant Departments" Knew Of His Decision To Try The Christmas Day Bomber As A Common Criminal. "I made the decision to charge Mr. Abdulmutallab with federal crimes, and to seek his detention in connection with those charges, with the knowledge of, and with no objection from, all other relevant departments of the government." (Attorney General Eric Holder, Letter To Senator Mitch McConnell, 2/3/10)

Obama's Directors Of The National Intelligence And The National Counterterrorism Center Said They Were Not Consulted On Giving The Christmas Day Bomber Miranda Rights. SEN. JOHN ENSIGN (R-NV): "Admiral Blair, you said that this HIG was not convened. Who made the decision, since none of you were consulted? Who made the decision to go ahead and Mirandize the prisoner?" DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, DENNIS BLAIR: "It was a decision made by the FBI team; the agent in charge on the scene consulting with his headquarters and Department of Justice." ENSIGN: "Who authorized him at the Department of Justice? How high up did this go?" BLAIR: "I don't know, sir." ENSIGN: "Do any of the rest of you know?" DIRECTOR NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER, MICHAEL LEITER: "I don't know, Senator." (Homeland Security Committee, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 1/20/10)

  • Neither Was Obama's Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "At congressional hearings last month, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano admitted they had not been consulted about the decision to Mirandize Abdulmutallab." (Mike Allen and Kasie Hunt, "Underwear Bomber Talking Again," Politico, 2/2/10)
  • Director Of National Intelligence Admits Administration Failed To Treat Christmas Day Bomber As High Value Terror Suspect. "Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that he was not asked whether the suspect should have been treated as a high-value terror suspect upon landing in Detroit and handled first by the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, (HIG) which the Obama administration created last year. 'That unit was created exactly for this purpose, to make a decision on whether...a certain person who's detained should be treated as...a case for federal prosecution.' Blair said." (Jason Ryan and Zach Wolf, "Feds Mislabeled Christmas Bombing Suspect," ABC News, 1/20/10)

Obama "Reserved His Most Penetrating Cross-Examination" On The Christmas Plot For Holder. "Several participants in the meeting would later remark that he reserved his most penetrating cross-examination for his friend the attorney general. Obama asked Holder about the conversations that led to the Miranda decision. He wanted to know how the process worked from the ground up. Who had made the call? Why not question Abdulmutallab longer? Who else in the government was consulted? Holder explained that the FBI had followed 'standard practice,' and walked him through the steps. He also told the president that he had not been involved in the decision and didn't learn about it until after the fact. " (Daniel Klaidman, Kill Or Capture, 2012, p. 180-81)

HOLDER IS REFUSING TO APPOINT A SPECIAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE THE NATIONAL SECURITY LEAKS

Holder Appointed Two U.S. Attorneys "To Lead Investigations Into The Possible Leak Of Classified Information By The White House To Reporters." "Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has appointed the two U.S. attorneys from the District and Maryland to lead investigations into the possible leak of classified information by the White House to reporters, even as President Obama defended his administration against claims that it was complicit. In a statement issued late Friday, Holder said that he has notified members of Congress that he has assigned the U.S. attorney for the District, Ronald C. Machen Jr., and his counterpart for Maryland, Rod J. Rosenstein, to lead criminal investigations into 'possible unauthorized' leaks to reporters for several recent news articles and books." (Sari Horwitz And David Nakamura, "Attorney General Eric Holder Names Attorneys To Investigate Leaks," The Washington Post , 6/8/12)

  • Leaks Include Information About Disrupted Terror Plots, The Drone Campaign In Yemen, Cyberweapons, And Obama's "Kill Lists." "The controversy involves a number of news stories about the Obama administration's active role in clandestine operations against al-Qaeda and other adversaries. They include the Associated Press's reporting about a disrupted terrorist plot by al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen, articles in several publications about the expanded U.S. drone campaign in Yemen, and reports in the New York Times that described President Obama's role in approving 'kill lists' for CIA drones and the use of computer viruses and cyberweapons against Iran." (Sari Horwitz, "Senate Republicans Call For Special Prosecutor In White House Leaks Probe," The Washington Post , 6/12/12)

"Senate Republicans Introduced A Resolution Calling For Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. To Appoint A Special Counsel To Investigate The Leaks." "A group of Senate Republicans introduced a resolution Tuesday calling for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to appoint a special counsel to investigate the leaks to reporters of classified national security information about U.S. military and intelligence operations. The resolution, sponsored by Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), came on the heels of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at which several GOP lawmakers argued that the two U.S. attorneys appointed by Holder to investigate the leaks cannot be independent because they work for the Justice Department." (Sari Horwitz, "Senate Republicans Call For Special Prosecutor In White House Leaks Probe," The Washington Post , 6/12/12)

Holder "Spent The Week In The Washington Hot Seat" For Refusing To Appoint A Special Counsel On The National Security Leaks. "Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. spent the week in the Washington hot seat - and there's little evidence that his perch is going to get cooler anytime soon. Holder appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to answer for a number of recent national security leaks. At issue? The fact that Holder has refused to appoint a special counsel to look into the leaking of sensitive information to reporters, instead putting two U.S. attorneys in charge of the investigation. 'There are clearly people around the president leaking stories that involve highly classified information' that paints the president in a positive light, accused Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.)." (Chris Cillizza, "Who Had The Worst Week In Washington? Attorney General Eric Holder," The Washington Post , 6/14/12)

HOLDER HASN'T PROSECUTED ANYONE FOR FINANCIAL FRAUD

Attorney General Holder Promised To Be "Relentless" In Going After Wall Street . "Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. reinforced that message in November when he vowed to prosecute Wall Street executives and others responsible for the crisis. 'We will be relentless in our investigation of corporate and financial wrongdoing, and we will not hesitate to bring charges,' Holder said as he launched a financial fraud task force." (Jerry Markon, "Cases Against Wall Street Lag Despite Holder's Vows To Target Financial Fraud," The Washington Post, 6/18/10)

  • Holder: "Much Of The Conduct That Led To The Financial Crisis Was Unethical And Irresponsible." "Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday defended the Justice Department's record of financial crime enforcement, while acknowledging that some of the behavior that sparked the financial crisis did not rise to the level of criminality. Speaking before an audience of about 400 students and professors at Columbia University, where he received both undergraduate and law school degrees, Holder said the Justice Department has taken 'bold, unprecedented steps' toward combating financial crime. The Obama administration has been criticized for not bringing more high-profile prosecutions in the aftermath of the financial crisis. 'We've found that much of the conduct that led to the financial crisis was unethical and irresponsible,' Holder said in prepared remarks. 'But we also have discovered that some of this behavior-while morally reprehensible-may not necessarily have been criminal.'" ("Attorney General Defends Financial Crime Record," Reuters, 2/23/12)

Obama Administration Has Not Brought Any Charges Against Big Banks That Contributed To The Crisis. "Nearly 1 1/2 years into Obama's tenure, despite several cases against mortgage companies whose lending practices contributed to the crisis, the administration has not brought any charges against the big Wall Street banks that took those loans, converted them into toxic securities and pumped them into the world's financial markets. Law enforcement sources say no such charges are imminent." (Jerry Markon, "Cases Against Wall Street Lag Despite Holder's Vows To Target Financial Fraud," The Washington Post, 6/18/10)

"60 Minutes'" Steve Kroft: There Has "[Not] Been A Single Prosecution Of A High-Ranking Wall Street Executive Or Major Financial Firm…" "It's been three years since the financial crisis crippled the American economy, and much to the consternation of the general public and the demonstrators on Wall Street, there has not been a single prosecution of a high-ranking Wall Street executive or major financial firm even though fraud and financial misrepresentations played a significant role in the meltdown." (CBS' " 60 Minutes," 12/11/11)

  • Charges May Never Be Brought Because It Would "Essentially Criminalize An Entire Business Model." "The blunt words of administration officials have triggered debate over whether they have gone too far in appearing to promise difficult cases that critics say might never be filed, in part because they would essentially criminalize an entire business model in the financial industry." (Jerry Markon, "Cases Against Wall Street Lag Despite Holder's Vows To Target Financial Fraud,"The Washington Post , 6/18/10)

Over The Past 10 Years, Federal Prosecutions For Finance Fraud Have Dropped. "Federal prosecutions for financial institution fraud have tumbled over the last decade, despite the recent troubles in the banking sector, according to a new analysis of Justice Department data by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University." (Catherine Rampell, "Prosecutions For Bank Fraud Fall Sharply," The New York Times' " Economix," 11/15/11)

The Justice Department Is On Track To Prosecute Less Cases Of Fraud Than A Decade Ago. "During the first 11 months of the 2011 fiscal year, the federal government filed 1,251 new prosecutions for financial institution fraud. If that pace continues, TRAC projects a total of 1,365 prosecutions for the fiscal year. That's less than half the total a decade ago." (Catherine Rampell, "Prosecutions For Bank Fraud Fall Sharply," The New York Times' " Economix," 11/15/11)

Obama Administration Still Has Not Prosecuted Wall Street CEOs For Role In 2008 Market Collapse, Prefers To "Settle Potential Cases With Cash Penalties." "Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro defended the Obama administration for not prosecuting Wall Street CEOs whose companies fed into the 2008 market collapse, saying the government can't press charges against bankers when 'we don't think the law and the facts are on our side.' Schapiro said the strategy has been to settle potential cases with cash penalties, since a prosecution could drag on for years and exhaust her agency's resources. 'It's really important to understand that settlements get money back to harmed investors immediately without years of delay.'" (Josh Boak, "SEC Chairman: Can't Prosecute Bankers Because Law And Facts Not On Our Side," Politico's " Politico 44", 2/22/12)

  • SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro: "I understand and share the frustration that the public feels in general that people aren't being held accountable for the financial crisis. We will take the cases wherever the facts and the law allow us, and if that means individuals that's great from our perspective. But if we can't make the case, it would be really wrong for us as a federal agency to bring a case where we don't think the law and the facts are on our side." (Josh Boak, "SEC Chairman: Can't Prosecute Bankers Because Law And Facts Not On Our Side," Politico's " Politico 44", 2/22/12)

HOLDER'S GAFFE ON THE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN

In February 2009, Holder Said Obama Wanted "To Reinstitute The Ban On The Sale Of Assault Weapons." "The Obama administration will seek to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 during the Bush administration, Attorney General Eric Holder said today. 'As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons,' Holder told reporters. Holder said that putting the ban back in place would not only be a positive move by the United States, it would help cut down on the flow of guns going across the border into Mexico, which is struggling with heavy violence among drug cartels along the border." (Jason Ryan, "Obama To Seek New Assault Weapons Ban," ABC News, 2/25/09)

  • Holder: The Assault Weapons Ban Is Something "The President Talked About During The Campaign." "Holder declined to offer any time frame for the reimplementation of the assault weapons ban, however. 'It's something, as I said, that the president talked about during the campaign,' he said. 'There are obviously a number of things that are - that have been taking up a substantial amount of his time, and so, I'm not sure exactly what the sequencing will be.'" (Jason Ryan, "Obama To Seek New Assault Weapons Ban," ABC News, 2/25/09)

But The White House Distanced Itself From His Comments

Holder's Early Gaffe On The Assault-Weapons Ban Prompted Emanuel To Instruct Him To "'Shut The F### Up' On Guns." "Now Emanuel had his sights set on Holder. The attorney general had gotten off to a rocky start with the White House with his 'nation of cowards' speech. One week later, Holder stepped into it again. On February 25, Jim Messina, Emanuel's deputy, walked into his boss's office to inform him of Holder's latest 'gaffe.' At a press conference earlier that day, Holder had told reporters that the administration would push to reinstate the assault-weapons ban, which had expired in 2004. The comments roused the powerful gun lobby and its water carriers on Capitol Hill. 'Senators to Attorney General: Stay Away from Our Guns' read a press release issued by Senator Max Baucus of Montana-a Democrat, no less. Emanuel was furious. He slammed his desk and cursed the attorney general. Holder was only repeating a position Obama had expressed during the campaign, but that was before the White House needed the backing of pro-gun Democrats from red states for their domestic agenda. The chief of staff sent word to Justice that Holder needed to 'shut the f### up' on guns." (Daniel Klaidman, Kill Or Capture, 2012, p. 75)

Despite Campaign Promise, Obama Shelved The Assault Weapons Ban And Has Declined Comment On "High-Capacity Magazines." "President Obama, during his 2008 campaign, had supported reinstating the assault weapons ban, but soon abandoned the idea as politically impractical after taking office. This week, the White House has declined to respond to requests for comment on whether the President would support a restriction on high-capacity magazines." (Michael Isikoff, "Gun-Rights Advocate: High-Capacity Magazine Restrictions 'Makes Sense,'" MSNBC's " First Read," 1/12/11)


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