Former US Attorney General Eric Holder is the first African-American to have held that prestigious title of office, and he has only tweeted 121 times in his life. However, after watching the debate, his three tweets cut right to the heart of everything dangerous and wrong with Republican nominee Donald Trump’s putrid debate promise; to jail Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
In response, former Attorney General Holder jumped onto twitter and scolded the angry Republican’s ugly and dangerous statement:
In America, the President doesn’t own the Attorney General, he appoints that person and the Congress confirms the office holder, who then swears an oath to defend the Constitution. That’s what it means to be a nation of laws. That’s why former Attorney General Holder pointed out the long tradition of independence in America’s top law enforcement job.
He’s right; This is yet another disqualifying remark by Donald Trump. Terrifyingly, Chris Christie is the official head of Trump’s transition team – which is now a lawful federal government office – and widely thought to be the Republican Party’s choice for Attorney General if voters decide to destroy the United States by electing a lunatic as President.
The history of the top law enforcement role in America is littered with episodes of integrity and law over personal obedience and politics, and the reason that our democracy can function with differing viewpoints. It was called The Saturday Night Massacre the last time a President felt compelled to give orders to that lofty office’s occupant. Then Attorney General Eliot Richardson spurned disgraced ex-President Richard Nixon and resigned instead – as did the Deputy Attorney General.
More recently, the Bush Administration tried to bully Attorney General John Ashcroft – who was incapacitated with pancreatitis and near-death in a hospital bed – into signing an order giving the White House vast, warrantless spying powers. Then-acting Attorney General James Comey (yes, the same Comey who is the FBI director today, was a Republican appointee) told the entire horrifying tale of White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez and Bush’s Chief of Staff trying to bully a desperately sick Ashcroft, who even in his weakened state strongly told off the President’s men. Their egregious act of coercion set off an actual police chase initiated by Comey which ultimately ended in failure, but only because of the principled threat of mass resignations at the Department of Justice.
Trump made his grotesque threats in response to Hillary Clinton’s deletion of 33,000 private emails, but hasn’t mentioned that same Bush Administration‘s deletion of 22 million emails which would have explained why America was misled into the Iraq War — and so much more.
President Obama made an outstanding choice elevating Eric Holder to the Attorney General’s office. The next leader of the Justice Department should heed his wise words carefully — let’s hope it isn’t Chris Christie.