Is Eric Holder corrupt or playing politics?

Krauthammer on the attorney general's recent political moves


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 15, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY: "Back of the Book" segment tonight, Attorney general Eric Holder under fire from many different directions. He's going after Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona for racial profiling but will not tell Congress what the Justice Department knows about the federal gun scandal dubbed Fast and Furious.

Also, reports are the FBI may charge George Zimmerman with a hate crime for killing Trayvon Martin. But when "The Factor" called the attorney general last week, asking if he would investigate bias crime allegations in Norfolk, Virginia, the mob violence case we reported on earlier, the Justice Department refused to get back to us.

Here now to analyze the whole deal, FOX News political commentator Charles Krauthammer.

There's something wrong here, Charles. It just -- you've got the Black Panthers in Philadelphia. You've got just case after case after case after case that just doesn't seem right. You say?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, we can start with incompetence. We saw that in the debacle with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

If we're going to call him corrupt, I've got a pretty high threshold for corruption. I need either a smoking gun like the Nixon tapes or cold cash.

O'REILLY: What about the fact -- what about the fact that he won't turn over the documents to Congress and may be cited for contempt? Would that, if -- if it happens, if he's cited for contempt, not now, because you've got to, you know, let the process play out, would that be a high enough threshold?

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, of all the things on his docket, I don't think that's the worst. Justice Departments, administrations, White Houses have, since the beginning of time, tried to withhold documents that Congress wants. It's an age-old struggle. And unless we can see something in the documents that we know is corrupt, we can only assume. So until I see that, I'm not going to assume corruption.

But I'll tell you what I think explains this guy. He's a political hack. And the reason that is so grating, is because you can be a political hack in HEW, in HUD, somewhere else.

The Justice Department is a really important job. You are the supreme law enforcement official in the country. You are entrusted with upholding the rule of law and the Constitution. And the amount of stuff he has done as a pure political hack, as you mentioned, starting with the Marc Rich pardon back in the Clinton administration, this is a guy who will be at the beck and call of his political masters.

Two cases in point. The case the Justice Department brought in Texas against the voter I.D. law, they know they're going to lose it. There was a similar Indiana law upheld in 2008, 6-3, in which the majority included the great liberal, John Paul Stevens. They're going to lose in Texas.

Why is he doing it? To gin up the issue, the voter suppression issue so-called, and to agitate the base, presumably minorities.

Second point, the Arizona immigration case. They're going to lose that one, too. And they know it. And the reason he brings it up, to gin up the Hispanic vote. To bring up the idea of the Republicans as anti- immigrant.

That's a hack. And if you're attorney general you shouldn't be acting in that way. You should be acting for the nation.

O'REILLY: In Arizona on the immigration case, he's going to lose on what issue?

KRAUTHAMMER: He's going to lose on the issue that -- and you saw it in the oral arguments -- the solicitor general tries to make the case that it is illegal for the state of Arizona to assist the federal government in carrying out its responsibilities on immigration. Somehow the exclusivity of the feds excludes any state assisting in that enforcement.

O'REILLY: So that would be like saying to the state police, you can't help us solve a bank robbery, because bank robbery is a federal crime, so stay out of it. If the bank robber goes through your town, you can't even call us.

KRAUTHAMMER: Precisely. And the case was so weak that in the oral argument, Justice Sotomayor, who was certainly no right winger, said of the solicitor general, defending the Obama case, "This isn't selling very well, is it?"

And they know it. This is done as pure political pandering.

O'REILLY: Do you believe it's President Obama himself that is basically telling the attorney general what to do? I mean, it would have to be at that level, because there's really nobody else that he's beholden to. It's President Obama, correct?

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm sure that Obama signs off on this. I'm not sure Obama spends nights in bed thinking up Supreme Court cases that will lose, that will somehow help him in the general election, especially if they lose by ginning up his constituencies.

O'REILLY: Who would be that? I mean, who would it be?

KRAUTHAMMER: The attorney general. That's who's doing this. But he has to get a sign off from higher up. But he's the guy who's acting as a hack.

O'REILLY: So he's anticipating what his boss might like to see?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, no. But he's also a Democrat. He wants to be in office himself, whether -- I'm not sure if he stays on or not. If you're a Democrat and you believe in this and you're an ideologue the way he is, why wouldn't you want your administration to continue?

O'REILLY: Yes. All right, Charles. Thanks, as always.

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