An anonymous source in The New York Times says the White House is displeased by Attorney General Eric Holder's tin ear for scandal. It could be seen as a gentle nudge toward the door.
That’s one reading of a Sunday New York Times story that’s still got people in D.C. buzzing.
First off, we’ll say that no one currently in the administration is quoted in the piece as saying anything like “Holder should quit to save us grief.” But an unnamed “Democratic former official” does say that, pretty much.
“The White House is apoplectic about him, and has been for a long time,” says this anonymous source of Mr. Holder.
One of the administration’s main complaints about the attorney general is that he “does not manage or foresee problems,” adds this source.
This is hearsay, right? The Times reporter hasn’t actually heard anybody in the White House express those views – only a secondary source who claims to have heard them expressed. That weakens the case, as any lawyer will tell you.
But anonymous carping through the media is a time-honored Washington way of easing out officials who have become a liability. It’s supposed to give said official a hint without anyone directly telling them. That way, there’s deniability. The White House can say the person is stepping down of their own accord.
And Holder has definitely been producing some bad headlines for the Obama team. In particular, many Republicans and some Democrats charge that Holder may have committed perjury by telling Congress under oath that he’d never heard of any “potential prosecution” of reporters under the Espionage Act, when he’d signed off on a Justice Department warrant for the communications records of Fox News reporter James Rosen that named the journalist as an espionage co-conspirator.