- The Washington Times - Monday, March 5, 2018

President Barack Obama’s attorney general who once described himself as his president’s “wing man” showed up on television over the weekend to brag that unlike Attorney General Jeff Sessions he had the pleasure of serving a president “I did not have to protect.” The man is either suffering from early onset dementia or lying to rewrite history.

As those outside the confines of the Democratic Party might remember, Eric Holder has the distinction of being the only attorney general in history ever held in contempt of Congress. The charges stemmed from his stonewalling and lying to Congress as he scrambled to keep investigators away from any evidence that might link a major Obama administration scandal directly to the White House.

Maybe that’s what a president’s “wing man” does and Mr. Obama certainly got protection from Mr. Holder whenever he needed it. Mr. Holder has actually always been prone to confusing loyalty to the law and to his boss for decades.

After serving as a U.S. attorney, he moved to main Justice as deputy attorney general during the Clinton years and was key to Mr. Clinton’s pardon of billionaire fugitive Marc Rich just before he left office. The New York Times called the Rich pardon “a shocking abuse of presidential power.”

Marc Rich made much of his money by illegally buying $200 million dollars’ worth of embargoed Iranian oil while that country was holding 53 Americans hostage. He made secret and incredibly profitable deals with the apartheid regime in South Africa and the totalitarian governments of Libya and North Korea, and when indicted, owed the U.S. some $48 million in taxes.

Mr. Rich and his cronies were major contributors to the Bill Clinton machine and many believed that they bought Mr. Rich the pardon President Clinton signed just before turning the Oval Office over to George W. Bush in 2001.

The president has the authority to issue pardons on his own, but virtually all pardons come only after consultations with Justice Department officials and the prosecutors who bring the charges in the first place. Justice or anyone in the building save Mr. Holder would have opposed the Rich pardon had they known it was in the works, but Mr. Holder, then serving as Mr. Clinton’s wing man, kept them all out of the loop for more than two months until it was a fait accompli.

The outrage at Mr. Holder’s role in the pardon scandal shook him so badly that he told a Washington Post reporter “I’m done. Public life is over for me,” adding that all he wanted to do was “crawl into bed and pull the covers up over my head.” The country would have been better off had he done so, but it was not to be.

Looking for his own “wing man” in 2009, President Barack Obama resurrected Mr. Holder over the objections of fellow liberals like columnist Richard Cohen who were appalled at his role in the Rich pardon. Mr. Obama sent Mr. Holder right back to Justice to cover for him the way he had for Mr. Clinton.

In no time the Justice Department with Mr. Holder at the helm dropped a lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation, refused to prosecute Lois Lerner when it was revealed that her division of the IRS was targeting Tea Party and other conservative organizations for ideological and political reasons, and blocked the “Fast & Furious” gun walking investigation that resulted in more than 60 deaths and earned him his contempt of Congress citation.

The former attorney general confided to those tuning in over the weekend that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is a close friend who has already decided to indict President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice, but is waiting because he doesn’t yet have the evidence yet. That’s certainly the way Mr. Holder’s Justice worked and he no doubt believes Mr. Mueller approaches investigations looking for evidence to support conclusions already reached.

Mr. Trump can only hope that Mr. Mueller takes his job and oath more seriously. Still, if Mr. Holder is the close friend he claims to be his remarks should convince Mr. Mueller that he like the rest of us would certainly be better off if his friend would even at this late date crawl into bed and pull up the covers.

David A. Keene is an editor at large for The Washington Times.

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