Former Attorney General Eric Holder openly and proudly professed his allegiance to former President Barack Obama in 2013, telling a radio host that he was the president’s “wingman.”
President Donald Trump’s critics have derided his interventions with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and law enforcement agencies, as they continue to investigate possible collusion between his campaign and elements of the Russian government. Others have criticized the so-called “loyalty pledge” he imposed on former FBI Director James Comey during a private meeting on Jan. 27.
But Holder, for his part, seemed to understand his role differently.
“I’m still enjoying what I’m doing, there’s still work to be done,” Holder told the Tom Joyner radio program in 2013. “I’m still the President’s wing-man, so I’m there with my boy.”
The former AG made the comments in response to a question about when he might leave the administration.
Though it is probably impossible to ensure the Justice Department is sequestered from politics. Norms and mores governing the department provide that the attorney general should be an independent presence in the administration, protecting career prosecutors and federal agents from White House pressure.
Comey repeatedly stressed the importance of insulating DOJ and law enforcement from political pressure during his testimony Thursday before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He emphasized that law enforcement officials should never work in the service of patrons.
“The statue of justice has a blindfolds on,” he said. “You’re not supposed to peek out to see there your patron was please pleased with what you’re doing.”