On Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” Tuesday night, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer said he doesn’t think Attorney General Eric Holder’s actions do not quite meet the benchmark of corruption, and chalked up most of his missteps to incompetence.
“First of all, we can start with incompetence,” Krauthammer said. “We saw that in the debacle with [alleged terrorist mastermind] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But if we are 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.”
Host Bill O’Reilly asked Krauthammer if the criteria for “corruption” would be met if Holder were to be held in contempt by Congress for withholding documents in the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal. According to Krauthammer, that would be one of Holder’s lesser indiscretions.
“Look, of all the things on his docket, I don’t think that’s the worst,” he said. “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.”
All this can be chalked up to one thing, according to Krauthammer: Holder looking for political gain at the expense of the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.
“But I’ll tell you what I think explains this guy — he’s a political hack and the reason that it is grating is because you can be a political hack in [Health and Human Services], in HUD, somewhere else,” Krauthammer said. “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.”
Krauthammer said Holder first proved to be a hack when he handled the pardon of Marc Rich during the Clinton administration, and then referred to two newer examples of the Holder’s hackery: The Justice Department’s pursuit of overturning a voter ID law in Texas, and its attack on Arizona’s immigration laws.
“Two cases in point,” he said. “The case the Justice Department brought in Texas against the voter ID law, they know they are going to lose it. There was similar Indiana law upheld in 2008…in which the majority upheld including the great liberal John Paul Stevens. They are 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,” Krauthammer continued. “Second point, the Arizona immigration case, they are 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 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.”
However, Krauthammer said he doesn’t think that Obama is necessarily the puppet master in these instances.
“I’m sure that Obama signs off on this. I’m not sure that 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 l ginning up his constituencies,” Krauthammer said. “The attorney general [is] who is doing it. But he’d have to get a sign off from higher up. But he is the guy acting as a hack.”
Krauthammer added that although he’s not necessarily anticipating what Obama may want, he is acting in his interest to remain in office with some sort of political capacity.