Attorney General Eric Holder said the JPMorgan settlement was the first of several big announcements in the works as part of the Justice Department’s seemingly renewed effort to hold financial institutions accountable for their roles in the 2008 financial crisis
“You have to wait until we are finished with all the work that we will do,” Holder told Bloomberg News in an interview. “When we get to that point you will see that we have taken the mandate that we were given seriously, that we held people accountable, that we held institutions accountable.”
Holder has come under fire from lawmakers and left-leaning advocacy groups for at one point appearing to suggest that some banks could be too big to prosecute.
But this renewed resolve to see these cases through is part of what motivated the Attorney General to accept President Barack Obama’s request that he stay on at least until next year.
Holder won praise for the settlement, including from Republican Rep. Ted Yoho, who earlier this month signed on to a resolution calling for the Attorney General’s impeachment.
‘‘When you do your job and do what you’re supposed to do, I think that’s a good thing,” Yoho told Bloomberg. “That’s what he’s paid for, so we expect that out of him.”
The Attorney General told the news outlet that holding banks accountable was also a priority for the president. He also reiterated his desire to focus on revising sentencing guidelines for nonviolent offenders and taking on voter ID laws in the wake of last term’s Supreme Court decision, invalidating part of the Voting Rights Act.
Since announcing he planned to stick around, Holder has been openly addressing his tenure, talking about what he still wants to accomplish while also not shying away from past controversies.
More than three and a half years after a political uproar derailed his plans to try self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammedin civilian court, the Attorney General recently declared himself vindicated.
“I think that had we gone along the path that I announced at that time, we would not have had to close down half of Manhattan, it wouldn’t have cost $200 million a year and the defendants would be on death row as we speak,” Holder said during a press conference at Justice Department headquarters earlier this month.
Outgoing White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said Holder is less concerned by partisan perceptions of his achievements than by how history will perceive him.
“Eric has been in enough difficult jobs at this point, including this one, where he understands that the highs and the lows of what this town thinks — who is up and who is down — is completely irrelevant,” Ruemmler said. “That’s what he’s saying when he says history will judge.”