Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales threw folks for another loop on Thursday by saying he doesn’t really support further investigation of CIA prisoner abuses after all.
Tales from the Trail
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been under fire in some circles for naming a special prosecutor to investigate alleged abuses of prisoners by CIA interrogators or contractors, but on Tuesday he got some unexpected support from a former Bush administration official.
Tributes to Senator Edward Kennedy are pouring in after the 77-year-old pillar of the Democratic Party lost his battle with brain cancer. A schedule of events to remember the “Lion” of the Senate will be posted on www.tedkennedy.org as arrangements are finalized.
Even Attorney General Eric Holder calls it “controversial” — his decision to appoint a special prosecutor to look into prisoner abuse cases involving CIA interrogators and contractors.
(UPDATE: clarifies first two paragraphs about Holder talking to prosecutors)
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had some pointed words for prosecutors on Wednesday after the fumbling of the corruption case against former Republican Senator Ted Stevens that the government ultimately had to drop because evidence was withheld from the defense team.
WASHINGTON — What a difference a few days can make in the rough and tumble world of American politics, particularly in the U.S. Capitol. Just ask Eric Holder, President-elect Barack Obama’s pick to be U.S. attorney general.
Last week, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell named Holder as the only one of Obama’s Cabinet nominees in possible trouble.
There was Republican concern about Holder, particularly his decision, while President Bill Clinton’s deputy attorney general, to back a pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich.
But after receiving rave reviews at his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, Holder seems certain to be confirmed.
Under questioning, Holder admitted he erred in the Rich matter, broke with the Bush administration to call waterboarding “torture” and vowed to run a Justice Department free of political meddling. He also promised to make fighting financial crimes a top priority.
At least two Republicans said afterward that they intend to support him, which should provide enough votes in the Democratic-led Senate to clear any procedural roadblock.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, reiterated his support for Holder, predicting he would be a strong attorney general.
And on Friday, Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida came out for Holder after what he described as “a very productive meeting with him.”
“I adhere to the principle that, assuming qualifications, a president gets to choose the members of his Cabinet,” Martinez said.
“Mr. Holder answered a number of questions to my satisfaction,” Martinez said. “I intend to support Mr. Holder’s confirmation and urge my colleagues to do the same.”
At least one key member of Barack Obama‘s Cabinet could be ready to be sworn into office just hours after Obama takes the oath as president on Jan. 20.
Please sir, can I have some more? CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler make their case for a $25 billion bailout to the House of Representatives, one day after enduring a skeptical reception in the Senate. A vote could come as early as today, but Senate backers say they might not have the support they need.
Testimony to the House Financial Services Committee gets underway at 10 a.m.
In Chicago, President-elect Barack Obama continues to assemble his administration. Eric Holder, a former Justice Department official under President Bill Clinton, emerged yesterday as a possible pick for attorney general, while the Wall Street Journal reports that Clinton himself offered to submit his future charitable and business activities for ethics review if wife Hillary is tapped for Secretary of State.