Von Spakovsky, Fund: Barr not 'unfit' to be attorney general – Here's the man who deserves that title

The recent commentary by Eric Holder in the Washington Post unfairly attacking William Barr only shows how unfit he was to be the attorney general of the United States, not Bill Barr.  Contrary to his outlandish claims against Barr, there has never been a more “nakedly partisan” attorney general to serve in that office than Holder himself.

As we outlined several years ago in our book about Holder’s mismanagement of the Justice Department, “Obama’s Enforcer – Eric Holder’s Justice Department,” Holder – who referred to himself as Barack Obama’s wingman – was the first attorney general in history to be held in contempt by Congress for his cover-up of one of the most reckless Justice Department operation in history.

Operation Fast and Furious involved the smuggling of thousands of weapons across the southern border where agents lost sight of and control over the guns as the crossed the border.  Those weapons were used by the drug cartels to kill hundreds of Mexican citizens and a U.S. border agent.

FORMER ACTING AG WHITAKER HITS BACK AT ERIC HOLDER'S 'ODD' CRITICISM OF WILLIAM BARR

We interviewed many sources both inside and outside of the Justice Department for our book. They all told us the same thing:  Holder politicized and radicalized the department to an extent they had never seen before. They stated that every decision made by Holder was through a political lens, not a legal lens.

Holder treated Congress with contempt and did everything he could to evade its oversight responsibilities by misleading, misinforming, and ignoring members of Congress and its committees. 

They reported that he filled the career ranks of the Justice Department with political allies, cronies, and Democratic Party donors, in what they believed were clear violations of civil service rules. Many of those cronies and political hacks are still there and have been doing everything they can from inside DOJ to attack President Trump and get him removed from office.

Holder treated Congress with contempt and did everything he could to evade its oversight responsibilities by misleading, misinforming, and ignoring members of Congress and its committees.

He directed his Civil Rights Division to misuse discrimination laws to attack state efforts to improve the integrity of elections, doing everything he could to make it easier to commit voter fraud, which has occasionally facilitated the election of members of his own party.

The former attorney general misused that same Division to restrict the First Amendment rights of pro-life protesters in prosecutions that were thrown out by judges, one of whom speculated that the meritless prosecution was the “product” of what amounted to a conspiracy between the government and the abortion clinic to shut down legal protests.

Holder damaged our national security by insisting that terrorists be treated as ordinary domestic criminals. He prosecuted the leakers of classified information in the lower levels of government but never went after his allies in the White House when they were caught leaking sensitive and classified information that benefited the public image of Barack Obama. 

Holder is apparently unconcerned over the Inspector General’s report that showed that the FBI misled the FISA court, failing to inform the court of exculpatory information that conflicted with its claims, and omitting evidence that showed its primary source, Christopher Steele, was a liar and a con man who was working for the political campaign of Hillary Clinton.

The same Hillary Clinton whom Holder – when he was the deputy attorney general in 1999 during the Clinton administration -- helped garner votes for in New York in her Senate run by helping to arrange the pardons of 16 unrepentant Puerto Rican terrorists, some of whom had carried out bombings, armed robberies, and murders.  In other words, he politicized the pardon process in what former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy said were “embarrassingly naked instances of justice succumbing to influence peddling.”

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During his tenure as attorney general, Holder showed that he had no problem with the government spying on Americans when the Justice Department secretly seized telephone records of Associated Press reporters.

Holder even went after then-Fox News reporter James Rosen, obtaining a secret warrant – just like the FBI improperly did in the Russia election collusion investigation – to seize Rosen’s email and telephone records while investigating a leak at the State Department.

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One former career lawyer who served in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations told us that Holder was “the worst person to hold the position of attorney general since the disgraced John Mitchell," who went to jail as a result of the Watergate scandal.

Holder claims Barr gave an “ideological” and “nakedly partisan” speech at the Federalist Society’s annual lawyers’ convention.

We were at the convention and heard that speech. Apparently, Holder believes that giving an informed, learned speech about the views of the framers of the Constitution on how they drafted that document to provide for a strong executive is “ideological” and “nakedly partisan.”

Holder demonstrated during his tenure as attorney general that he believes in a “living” Constitution that can be bent, twisted, broken or just plain ignored when needed to achieve his “nakedly partisan” political goals and to protect his president.

It is no wonder that he is critical of an attorney general who actually believes in the rule of law and is forthright in enforcing the Constitution as it was written and intended regardless of partisan politics.

Former Attorney General Ed Meese has long had a cardinal rule. He does not criticize the lawyers who hold that office out of respect for the office and the often very tough job of the attorney general. Meese is one of the few class acts in the nation’s capital.

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Holder has shown once again his lack of class and why he should never have been attorney general. Holder got only one thing right in his diatribe against William Barr. He says that the American people “deserve an attorney general who serves their interests, leads the Justice Department with integrity and can be entrusted to pursue the facts and the law.”

The American people have that with Attorney General William Barr. They never had it with Eric Holder.

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John Fund is a columnist for National Review. Follow him on Twitter @JohnFund.