The attorney general has much to consider in the next eight months.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will be departing his office after the midterms and ahead of any lawmaker plans to remove him other ways. Reuters reported Friday that there is no exact time-line for the exit yet.
Holder, 63, has held the post since Barack Obama became president in 2009. His exit will be hastened if the Republicans take control of the senate while retaining their House majority.
“The Attorney General does not plan to leave before the midterms. That does not mean that he is definitely leaving after the midterms, just that he is at least staying through that time,” a Justice Department official said.
The president and Holder have been close friends for years and share the same political ideology. The attorney general has taken on issues such as civil rights, voting rights, and most recently, reducing sentencing for low-level drug offenders.
Holder has indicated that he does not want to stay on as attorney general through Obama’s second term, The Washington Post said. And there’s good reason with many of the long delayed scandals such as Benghazi, “Fast and Furious” and the IRS debacle nipping at his heels as the Republicans gain political traction.
There is speculation that Holder would step down due to his mysterious trip to the hospital in February feeling faint with an elevated heart rate. He was released several hours later, but confided in friends that the experience was “spooky” and a “warning sign” to spend more time with the family.
In fact, observers think the job is taking a toll on Holder. He recently got into an embarrassing argument with Rep. Louis Gohmert while testifying before the House Oversight Committee for more than three hours. Gohmert had suggested that “contempt” was “not a big deal” to the attorney general.
The congressman was referring to Holder’s “contempt of Congress” citation for what appears to be a stall or cover-up on the smuggling guns to Mexican drug cartel members. “You don’t want to go there, buddy,” Holder quickly snapped back after Gohmert’s comment.
Holder also squared off when he felt slighted by a comment that Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold. He told the attorney general he did not plan to ask him any questions because he “should have been in jail for contempt” during a House Oversight Committee meeting.
The Justice Department chief was so furious he changed his speech the following day at a meeting of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in New York City. He attacked the “ugly and divisive” treatment he and the president had received from Republicans, implying that their criticism was racist in nature.
It appears Holder is wearing out his already thin welcome in Washington. Utilizing the race card cop-out expedited that growing feeling.