Eric Holder and the race card

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 27, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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GUTFELD: In the "Impact Segment" tonight, Attorney General Eric Holder and the race card. Sounds like the name of a great band, they are opening for Hootie & the Blowfish. Holder is leaving office in a few weeks and telling the press that race has been a factor in his struggles.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There clearly have been times when you have felt disrespected on Capitol Hill. How much of that do you think relates to race?

HOLDER: It's hard to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But were there times when you thought that was a piece of it.

HOLDER: There have been times when I thought that's at least a piece of it. I think that the primary motivator has probably been political in nature.


GUTFELD: Joining us now from Washington, constitutional law attorney David Rivkin; along with nationally syndicated radio host Richard Fowler.

So David, Holder seems to be playing the race card more than Obama plays golf. Why is that? Is this to escape blame or is the accusation actually legitimate?

DAVID RIVKIN, CONSTITUTION LAW ATTORNEY: Accusation is not legitimate. He may be trying to escape blame or he may actually sincerely believe that race permeates all aspects of public and private life. He is wrong.

But I mean aside from the rhetoric, he on his way out is suggesting and I think it's very dangerous that we quote "need to lower the standard of proof" in federal civil rights prosecutions. That is an exceedingly bad idea of what's already a very generous certification requirements that enables the federal government to come in and take over prosecutions in places like Ferguson or Trayvon Martin case if it's in the interest of justice, substantial justice.

Watering it down even further would in essence lead to federalization of this whole area of law. It would allow the federal government to swoop in any time political expediency demands. So all I'm trying to say is it's not just rhetoric. He is actually trying to act upon it and it's very, very regrettable.

GUTFELD: You know, Richard, it seems to me I mean race card is getting pretty old at this point. But to be fair, he was asked the question so he answered it as I expected he would. But do you think he is just overusing it?

RICHARD FOWLER, RADIO HOST: I don't think he is overusing it at all here. If you listen very carefully to the attorney general's interview, he's very clearly saying the main motivation here is politics. People on the right and people in congress want to do everything to make sure this president fails.

But that does not speak to the fact that this Attorney General has a stellar record. We have had a decrease in terrorism, crimes happening in the United States. We've had a decrease in violent crimes happening in the United States. Our police officers are getting more funding than ever before and the training they need to keep our streets safe. That's everything to do with this attorney general.

Now, where I disagree with the guest here is this idea that he wants to have this expansive civil rights authority of the Justice Department. I think what he's saying is we live in a society where people's civil rights are being eroded whether Calvin Bundy in Nevada or it's Trayvon Martin in Florida.

There has to be a place for the federal government to act to make sure that could protect the civil rights of every citizen. Not black citizens, not white citizens but all citizens. And that's the only way we can stop our democracy and liberty from being eroded.

GUTFELD: David, when Eric Holder first came on to the scene he said that we were basically a nation of cowards when it came to race and that he wanted to talk race. It seems to me the only time he wants to talk race is when he calls you racist. I don't think it ever moves beyond that discussion. You can only have that debate with him if you accept the premise that inherently we are racist.

RIVKIN: I agree. But I want to emphasize something. It is not just about this issue. What we have here and I disagree with his sterling record, is a clear disregard for all the constitutional nice cities. Look, we all should ensure that nobody's civil rights are being violated. That should be done at the local level. That should be done at the state level. That should be done at the federal level.

The notion that federal government knows best, that federal government should run police departments and set uniform rules for policing, the notion that the federal government should become involved in every single case that has some racial connotation is frankly (inaudible) that destroys federalism which is to say vertical separation of powers. And frankly the notion that the federal government has a better policing record than local and state governments is just not supported by the facts.

What I'm trying to say is this attorney general doesn't just have sort of an ideologically wrong inclination about race permeating all issues. He doesn't care about the constitution. Let me just say briefly also this. This attorney general has aided and abetted this administration in engaging in the most aggrandizing and unconstitutional conduct by a President of American history, rewriting numerous statutes including immigration, control substances acts, Obamacare which are all being litigated ranging from the House of representatives, the 26 states, the judge got an injustice against us.

And he doesn't seem to care about any of this stuff. This is the attorney general that led a witch-hunt against numerous reporters in violation of the First Amendment.

FOWLER: Wait a second. Wait a second -- Greg.

GUTFELD: All right. I will let Richard respond because we have about a minute.

FOWLER: Wait a second, there is a couple points that I want to point out here. First on the controlled substance act the reason why the Attorney General said anything about it is because federal can actually prevail because states say they want to legalize marijuana because the legalization of marijuana. The federal government, the laws are contradictory to each other. The federal government had to act.

Let's not focus on this. And let's not focus on this Attorney General has been tyrannical. What is tyrannical is we have police departments who don't provide adequate civil rights to all of their citizens. You look at New York for example in Staten Island where Eric Garner said I can't breathe and he was still killed. That is a civil rights violation. And it is the job of our Justice Department to make sure that every citizen in this country has civil rights. This is not a racial issue here, Greg.

GUTFELD: All right. All right. Richard -- thank you.

I think though that Eric Holder wants more than conversation, he wants retribution. I think that's the --

GUTFELD: I just think he wants (inaudible).

GUTFELD: All right. We'll end it there.

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