Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama administration aide David Axelrod nearly came to blows after a Cabinet meeting in the White House, according to a new book by reporter Daniel Klaidman.
The details of the heated 2009 exchange are in Klaidman’s upcoming book “Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency,” exerts of which were obtained by Politico.
The book purportedly details how Axelrod became “incensed” after being told Holder and his aides were “spreading the word” he was trying to improperly influence the Justice Department
Axelrod purportedly rushed Holder after the meeting and said, “’Don’t ever, ever accuse me of trying to interfere with the operations of the Justice Department ... I’m not Karl Rove.”
Rove was a Bush administration adviser accused of pressuring the Justice Department of fire U.S. attorneys.
Axelrod -- who left the White House in 2011 to work on the Obama reelection campaign -- downplayed the exchange Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
"First of all, let me say, Eric Holder is a great friend of mine,” Axelrod said. “We actually went to the same high school. So we may have gone chest to chest back in the day. But we have a strong relationship. And I'm not going to get into the details of that, other than to say I respect him."
Axelrod also told CBS he never attempted to interfere with Holder’s work or any Justice Department issues.