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Thursday, January 24 , 2019, 1:57 am | Fair 42º


Diane Dimond: The Suspicious Timing of Attorney General Eric Holder’s Resignation

When someone decides to retire, they tell the boss and within a few weeks there’s a party, maybe a gold watch, and they’re gone. Not so if you are Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder recently announced his retirement as the nation’s top cop, but promised to stay on until a replacement is confirmed by Congress.

Here’s a double-barrel prediction: Holder isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and there could be big political fireworks ahead.

We are less than a month from Election Day, and Congress never does anything of substance during this time. Besides, President Barack Obama hasn’t actually nominated a replacement yet, so there’s no one for the Senate to consider yet, nothing to debate.

As history shows us, Congress also doesn’t do anything much in the weeks after an election either as everyone is full of anticipation for the Thanksgiving and Christmas recess. When lawmakers finally get around to discussing Obama’s new nominee, partisan bickering is sure to delay the process even longer.

It’s not unusual for a cabinet official to leave this far into their tenure, but why did Holder choose this exact time in the election cycle to announce he’s resigning? And why did he so specifically say he won’t leave until there is a new A.G. sitting at his desk?

I’m suspicious.

If the political prognosticators are correct, control of the Senate may very well swing to the Republicans after next month’s midterm election. So perhaps Holder and his longtime personal friend Obama have a plan.

Perhaps Obama has another one of his interim appointments up his sleeve. While the Senate is in recess for the holiday, his controversial attorney general could slip out the back door while the new person comes in the front. The Constitution allows for such appointments under Article 2, Section 2.

Note to the possible incoming GOP leadership in the Senate: Don’t ever declare an official recess, else you could find yourselves with an attorney general you don’t want.

I know, the U.S. Supreme Court slapped Obama’s hand earlier this year over recess appointments he’d made back in 2012, declaring they were invalid. But both this president and his pal Holder are all about pushing the constitutional envelope.

Yes, Holder has been heralded as a champion of civil rights for investigating dozens of local police departments for using excessive force, for putting in place a plan for lesser sentences for low-level drug offenders (many of whom are minorities) and for blocking several states from enacting voter ID laws by declaring them biased against persons of color.

But don’t get me started on what the head of our Justice Department has failed to pursue. Not one criminal case against any Wall Street firm or executive has been tied to America’s housing collapse and resulting financial crisis.

No investigation of any U.S. intelligence agents who gathered up millions of Americans’ phone calls and emails in a massive domestic spying program.

Nothing done against a seemingly partisan top IRS official who allegedly targeted conservative groups for special audit and whose email records went mysteriously missing.

After the scandal at several Veterans Administration hospitals, there were a handful of officials fired but no investigations launched as to how so many veterans were denied crucial health care.

Holder is, in large part, responsible for Americans’ growing distrust of government. When the department charged with going after criminal behavior sits back and does nothing, it signals politics is more the driving force than justice.

Holder might have made a well-covered goodwill trip to Ferguson, Mo., to promise a Justice Department investigation into the police-shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown. But the truth is that more than two years after the DOJ launched an investigation into the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, nothing has happened as of this writing.

So would it be such an unfathomable idea that there’s a political plan afoot to install a new “people’s attorney” as Obama calls the attorney general’s position? This president has already bypassed Congress about a half-dozen times issuing executive orders to ram through Democratic goals ranging from gay rights and immigration reform to minimum wage and student loan payback changes.

Again, I’m suspicious at the timing of Holder’s resignation announcement. I, for one, have my eyes peeled for what happens after the election. You should, too.

Diane Dimond is the author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case. Contact her at [email protected], follow her on Twitter: @DiDimond, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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