Axelrod, Holder offer conflicting tales on whether Axelrod gave political advice to Holder
On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod told host Candy Crowley that he rarely interacted with Attorney General Eric Holder in the White House and, contradicting recent testimony from Holder himself, claimed he never offered Holder political advice.
“From time to time at the White House, I would see Holder at meetings and so on, but I rarely spoke to him, and I didn’t ever speak to him on issues of policy in the Justice Department,” Axelrod said. “I didn’t speak to him about personnel issues, other than at the beginning of the administration [when] I recommended a communications person to him.”
Axelrod said that he was particularly concerned about protecting the Department of Justice from any undue White House influence or political pressure.
“I was very sensitive to the fact, Candy, that in the last administration the political arm of the White House was very active in the Justice Department, to the extent that they were picking U.S. attorneys and guiding policy there in ways that were inappropriate,” he continued. “I was very scrupulous about my interactions with the attorney general, even though he’s a friend.”
Axelrod went on to give a definitive “no” to Crowley when she asked if he gave Holder “any political advice.”
However, on Thursday Holder told a House committee the exact opposite during testimony concerning the failed gunrunning operation Fast and Furious.
“We talked about not hiring decisions, but ways we might improve the ability of the Justice Department to respond to political attacks coming my way,” Holder said.