Eric Holder has accepted President Barack Obama’s request to remain as Attorney General, at least for a while, two news outlets have now reported.
The report on Nov. 13 from the New York Post and a report Monday from the Wall Street Journal confirmed a Main Justice report last month that the embattled Holder was thinking of sticking around, despite conventional wisdom that he would quickly be gone after the election, even if his friend the president won re-election.
The WSJ report said it had not yet been decided how long Holder would stay.
Holder’s recent public remarks, in which he said he didn’t know whether he would stay on, were misinterpreted by many news outlets as evidence he was leaving.
Holder last June became the first sitting Cabinet officer to be held in criminal contempt of Congress, after the Republican-led House of Representatives tried unsuccessfully to get him to share documents about the Justice Department’s process of responding to lawmakers investigating the botched Fast and Furious gun investigation.
But people familiar with his thinking have told Main Justice he likes his job, despite becoming a high-profile target of conservative lawmakers and commentators who have described him as everything from an enemy of the Second Amendment to a reverse racist in his administration of civil rights laws.
Obama’s first White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, tried to push Holder out over early battles to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison and Holder’s abandoned plan to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohamed in federal court in New York. But with the hostile Emanuel now mayor of Chicago, Obama has more frequently had his friend Holder’s back.
When Republicans demanded the Fast and Furious documents about internal DOJ deliberations that Holder said were unrelated to the actual gun investigation, Obama claimed executive privilege over them. GOP lawmakers cried foul
But the incident made little impression on people outside the Fox News bubble that commentators now point to as the reason so many conservatives were surprised by Obama’s re-election.