Klaidman said Holder bounced right back, though: “He [Holder] does have very powerful regenerative powers. I think he is a guy who basically sees the glass as half full rather than half empty — fairly optimistic — but was a really rough patch for him. And, as the book lays out, he was talked into staying by Valerie Jarrett who was, once again, there for him at a difficult moment. I think he has no regrets that he stayed.”
Holder has faced two major scandals where members of Congress have demanded his resignation: The KSM scandal and Fast and Furious. While Jarrett encouraged Holder to stay on as attorney general during the heat of the KSM scandal, it’s unclear whether Jarrett has done same during Fast and Furious. Jarrett hasn’t publicly said anything about it and would not, given multiple opportunities, offer verbal support for Holder to TheDC through White House spokesman Eric Schultz.
Klaidman said he thinks Jarrett still supports Holder but he’s not absolutely sure. “I think that relationship is strong and I imagine that she continues to defend him,” Klaidman said. “But, I don’t know because that’s [Fast and Furious] not my story. My story is the Obama administration and terrorism. Fast and Furious started really at the tail end of my reporting that story. So, I just don’t really know what the interaction has been — I don’t know at all what the interaction has been between Valerie Jarrett and Eric Holder on Fast and Furious.”
Klaidman said he doesn’t think Obama or Jarrett will end up throwing Holder under the bus in the end, though. “I think the president — for the most part — and Valerie Jarrett have his back.”
Klaidman also told TheDC that the possible altercation between Holder and senior Obama political adviser David Axelrod — where they were reportedly about to fight each other in the White House before Jarrett broke it up — was an “isolated incident” and had happened in May 2009.
“In terms of a kind of an altercation with Axelrod, it was an isolated incident,” Klaidman said. “I don’t know, frankly, that they had any other arguments beyond that one. But, I would say, it was reflective of a lot of tension that existed between him [Holder] and a number of people in the White House, particularly on the president’s political team.”