Tales from the Trail

Attorney General orders more episodes of the “The Wire”, or a movie

Sometimes government officials draw fire for potentially overstepping their authority — but Attorney General Eric Holder will probably get some praise for ordering the writers of the critically-acclaimed television series HBO “The Wire” to come up with more episodes or a movie.

The gritty fictional series, which ran five seasons on HBO, showed the raw side of Baltimore as it endured hundreds of murders annually and a rampant drug scene. The show focused on the cash-strapped city police trying to root out crime as well as the drug dealers fighting for turf, using children to run their corners and the related effects on the city.

On Tuesday three of the actors, Wendell Pierce (“Bunk”), Sonja Sohn (“Kima”) and Jim True-Frost (“Prez”), dropped by the Justice Department to join Holder in trying to draw attention to the issue of protecting children from drug abuse and exploitation.

But Holder could not resist a plea — well really an order — to the writers David Simon and Ed Burns for more.

“I want to speak directly to Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon: Do another season of ‘The Wire’,” Holder said, drawing laughter and applause from the audience. “That’s actually at a minimum. … If you don’t do a season, do a movie.  We’ve done HBO movies, this is a series that deserves a movie. I want another season or I want a movie. I have a lot of power Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon.”

Attorney General Holder says he plans to stick around for a while

Eric Holder, President Barack Obama’s attorney general, has been castigated by liberals and conservatives for his decisions about prosecuting terrorism suspects in criminal courts, defending a law that effectively bans gay marriages and then dropping it, and efforts to go after fraud in the financial markets that have resulted in few senior corporate executives going to jail.

Despite all of that, he still professes a love for the job at the Justice Department and made it clear to reporters on Tuesday that he has no intention of going anywhere, at the very least until his wife says otherwise.

“I’m happy. I’m content. My wife says that I’ve got some more time and as long as she’s in the same place, I’ll be around,” Holder said during his first pen and pad briefing with reporters in over a year. “I like this job. This is my last swing through this great department and a lot of ways is a bittersweet experience.”

Robert Kennedy hailed on 50th anniversary of becoming Attorney General

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(Updates with remarks by Kennedy’s daughter on gun control.)

Robert F. Kennedy, who made history as attorney general in the 1960s, was remembered as one of the Justice Department’s most effective leaders who fought for civil rights and created an enduring and inspiring legacy.

Friday marked the 50th anniversary of the swearing-in of Kennedy, who was chosen to be the nation’s 64th attorney general by his brother, President John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy’s widow Ethel and other Kennedy family members were joined by civil rights leaders and current and former department officials in the building’s Great Hall to pay tribute to the late attorney general.

All smiles at the White House, for a moment anyway

Earlier today President Barack Obama signed a law about prison sentences for possession of crack cocaine and powder cocaine and the photograph of the smiling group of people who supported the legislation gave us a brief pause.

The Democrats and Republicans gathered around the president in the Oval Office rarely agree on anything.  Let’s take a minute to dissect this photograph.

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There’s Attorney General Eric Holder (pictured second from the left), a close confidante of Obama’s. But he has drawn intense criticism for his plan to prosecute the five alleged plotters of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in a criminal court in the heart of Manhattan (now highly unlikely). He also has been lambasted by Republicans for affording full legal rights to terrorism suspects who have been arrested on U.S. soil.

Holder goes from war zone to the strike zone (hopefully)

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who just returned from Afghanistan, is making another trip — to a baseball game. GUANTANAMO/

The nation’s top law enforcement official will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at tonight’s game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets, a Justice Department spokeswoman said.

The 59-year-old Holder, who grew up in New York City, is a longtime fan of the Mets, and a big baseball as well as a basketball fan.

Law & Order: SVU star stops by for chat with Attorney General

When Hollywood and Washington meet, the geeky government bureaucrat is usually the one in awe of the movie or television star.

HargitayBut when “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” television heroine Mariska Hargitay stopped by the Justice Department to meet Attorney General Eric Holder, the awe was focused squarely on the the chief law enforcement officer.

Describing their meeting as a “huge thrill”, Hargitay described Holder as a “rock star.” She is in town as part of the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act which was aimed at focusing more resources and attention on violent crimes against women.

Holder: collective administration decision on possible bin Laden trial

(UPDATED – adds Tuesday hearing delayed)

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder drew a lot of attention last week when he told Congress that he believed that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden would never be captured alive and declined to say how he would be prosecuted if that hypothetical capture actually came to fruition.

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Holder offered a somewhat clearer answer on Monday to that question ahead of a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on Tuesday that is expected to delve deeply into the Obama administration’s policies for prosecuting terrorism suspects. (The hearing was postponed until April 14 because many lawmakers plan to attend the healthcare bill signing.)

“If  Osama bin Laden were captured, a decision as to how to proceed would be made at that time in consultation with the President’s full national security team,”  Holder said in written responses released on Monday to questions submitted for the record by the committee after its last oversight hearing in November.

Lawyers who worked on detainee issues now in Justice Dept. under scrutiny

(Updates to add comment.)

There has been a lot of attention lately on a small group of lawyers who were hired by the Obama administration’s Justice Department and previously worked on legal arguments for detainees seeking release from the controversial prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A few Republican lawmakers initially sought the identity of the individuals and their responsibilities, questioning whether they were working on detainee matters at the Justice Department.

Federal ethics rules limit government officials from being involved in specific cases they had previously worked on in the private sector.

Attorney General Holder in virtual shouting match over Christmas bomber

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder rarely raises his voice. But at the very end of a three-hour congressional hearing on Tuesday he was in a virtual shouting match with Virginia Republican Representative Frank Wolf.

Wolf, questioning whether valuable intelligence was lost, was furious about the initial hourlong interrogation of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man captured after trying to ignite a bomb aboard a U.S. commercial jetliner on Christmas Day last year. USA/

“There were so many things that were missed,” Wolf said during the hearing.

Attorney General Holder escapes DC snow for Florida, defends decisions

After the federal government closed for four days following two major blizzards, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder escaped to the warmer climes of Tampa, Florida, where he defended decisions on terrorism-related cases that have come under fire.

FINANCIAL-COMMISSION/Republicans have harshly criticized Holder for deciding to prosecute the five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, including the self-professed mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in traditional criminal courts rather than military tribunals.

He has also drawn bipartisan fire for planning to hold the trials blocks from the site where the World Trade Center twin towers stood amid new concerns about security and costs.