Wednesday, November 19, 2008

 

Eric Holder and the Clinton Pardons

VC has a good post on this. I commented thus:

Right before the part of the report that the blog post quotes, the report makes some relevant points: 1. Holder admits that what he did was wrong, and just says he made a mistake in not letting the career attorneys even comment on the pardon petition, 2. It is dubious whether holder really did this by mistake, and 3. At the time, Holder was trying to get support in getting a job with the hoped-for Gore administration from Quinn, Rich's attorney. And of course granting a pardon to a thief like Rich is not the same kind of public-policy decision as whether to support a particular Texas redistricting plan; it's hard for anyone of any political philosophy to defend.

Here's what the report says:

The final question then is whether Holder's failure to obtain the Rich petition and involve the Justice Department in the pardon process was the result of incompetence or a deliberate decision to assist Jack Quinn. At the Committee's hearing, Holder suggested that it was the result of poor judgment, initially not recognizing the seriousness of the Rich case, and then, by the time that he recognized that the pardon was being considered, being distracted by other matters.\646\

However, it is difficult to believe that Holder's judgment would be so monumentally poor that he could not understand how he was being manipulated by Jack Quinn. Rather, the preponderance of the evidence indicates that Eric Holder was deliberately assisting Quinn with the Rich petition, and deliberately cut the rest of the Justice Department out of the process to help Quinn obtain the pardon for Marc Rich. This conclusion is supported by the following e-mail, which was sent by Quinn to Kitty Behan, ...

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Subject: eric

spoke to him last evening. he says go straight to wh. also says timing is good. we shd get in soon. will elab when we speak.\647\

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.... Assuming the ``eric'' referenced is Eric Holder, this e-mail contradicts the heart of Holder's defense. Holder claims that he was not focused on the Rich pardon until late in the process... It also suggests that Holder had reason to know that the request was remarkable, as he suggested to Quinn that he circumvent the Justice Department....

The final question is why Eric Holder would do such a thing. As discussed below, Holder had been asking Quinn for his help in being appointed Attorney General in a Gore Administration....

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\648\ In evaluating Holder's motivations, one should keep in mind that the only reason Jack Quinn was hired by Marc Rich was because of Eric Holder's initial recommendation to Gershon Kekst. Holder's suggestion to Kekst that he hire a lawyer like Quinn, who could come to him and solve the problem, was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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