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Eric Holder on Russia investigation, gerrymandering concerns and possible 2020 presidential bid

February 27, 2018 at 5:11 PM

In a wide-ranging interview at The Washington Post on Tuesday, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder weighed in on the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, detailed his anti-gerrymandering group’s latest efforts and outlined why he is not ruling out a 2020 White House bid.

On the Russia investigation:

“I think you’ve probably got a technical case,” that President Trump has obstructed justice in the Russia probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Holder told Washington Post Opinion Writer Jonathan Capehart. “I’m not at all certain that at this point you have a case that you would want to bring to court.”

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Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder comments on the debate over whether a sitting president can be indicted. (Washington Post Live)

Holder said Mueller’s recent indictments, which included 13 Russian nationals, should dispel any notion that “this is a witch hunt or that this doesn’t exist.”

“You’ve got specific people, you’ve got three other entities, you’ve got –really– facts, dates, times,” he told Capehart. “So you know that it happened. Now, the question is, who might have been involved with it.”

Holder, who served as Attorney General under President Obama, said the administration’s lack of preparation for another possible attempt by Russia to interfere with U.S. elections amounted to a “dereliction of duty.”

“Our electoral system was attacked. And what have we done to prepare ourselves for what will be an inevitable attack in this year, 2018, 2020?” Holder asked. “They’ve done absolutely nothing.”

On gerrymandering concerns:

Holder, who chairs the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, discussed a recent lawsuit led by an affiliate group against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker over his refusal to hold special elections for two vacant legislative seats.

“You’re supposed to fill those seats as soon as it’s practical, as soon as its possible,” Holder said. Without a special election the seats will remain vacant until 2019. “People in those districts would have been unrepresented over the course of the next year. And we made the determination that we would sue on their behalf to tell him to do his job, which is to hold a special election.”

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Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder serves as chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which seeks to create a comprehensive redistricting strategy. His group is suing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker over his refusal to hold special elections to fill two vacant legislative seats. (Washington Post Live)

Walker is among a number of other Republican governors who have refused to hold special elections this year for legislative seats they fear Republicans may lose.

“That’s what the NDRC is really all about,” Holder said, “to try to inject fairness into our electoral system, which has become tilted by gerrymandering.

On a possible White House run:

With speculation swirling about Holder’s possible interest in a presidential bid in 2020, Capehart asked the former attorney general to set the record straight.

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Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder tells The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart about why he may be considering a White House bid in 2020. He said he has yet to make up his mind about running. (Washington Post Live)

“I care a great deal about this country,” Holder said, declining to rule out a White House bid. “I think I’ve got ideas that I hope would resonate with the American people, I think I’ve got the guts to potentially do the things that I think the next president would have to do.”

But, Holder added, it “doesn’t mean ultimately” he is going to run.

Paige Hymson is a digital producer with Washington Post Live, the newsroom’s live journalism platform.


Paige Hymson is a digital producer with Washington Post Live, the newsroom’s live journalism platform.

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