Book: Obama’s ‘wingman’ created toxic DOJ culture that hatched attempted coup

by WorldTribune Staff, May 15, 2020

Obama era Attorney General Eric Holder created an “above-the-law culture” at the Department of Justice that would steer investigations away from Democratic allies, including Hillary Clinton, and onto Republican enemies such as President Donald Trump, a new book says.

As President Barack Obama’s “wingman” at the DOJ, Holder built a team that would remain in place after Trump took office, former U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker writes in “Above the Law: The Inside Story of How the Justice Department Tried to Subvert President Trump”.

Holder’s team would eventually shut down a probe into the Clinton email scandal in order to focus its efforts on investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“What Holder is advocating for,” Whitaker wrote, “is a government full of Jim Comeys: government officials determining on their own what the Constitution demands, deciding which laws to prosecute and which to ignore, selectively releasing information to the media about Americans under investigation, and held accountable neither to the chief executive nor to voters.”

Washington Examiner columnist Paul Bedard, who was provided an advance copy, said the book “is an indictment by a true insider of the ‘deep state’ of liberal bureaucrats trying to protect their own and ignore Trump’s election.”

Whitaker, who served as a Trump’s acting attorney general between Jeff Sessions and William Barr, details how the DOJ team assembled by Holder bumbled the investigations which Trump has dubbed “Obamagate”.

The book also highlights “the double standard of Obama-era officials, especially on recusals from cases they had an interest in,” including that of Michael Flynn, Bedard noted.

In the book Whitaker writes that the judge who accepted Flynn’s guilty plea of lying to the FBI was a friend and neighbor of disgraced FBI official Peter Strzok, who texted with his FBI lover about hoping Trump did not become president. Strzok did not recuse himself, and Judge Rudolph Contreras did only later.

In several passages, Whitaker wrote about how Holder and his successors refused to investigate Obama-era scandals, such as the IRS’s targeting of conservatives and a case against the New Black Panther Party, and he recalled how Holder successor Loretta Lynch met with former President Bill Clinton before ending the department’s probe of the Hillary Clinton emails.

The author also describes a DOJ that was more political under Obama than any department since President Richard Nixon’s, one that sought to promote the efforts of partisans such as Comey.

“As longtime professional staff of the Justice Department privately acknowledged to me, the arrogance characteristic of the Obama administration, personified by his first attorney general, Eric Holder, created an above-the-law culture inside the Justice Department,” wrote Whitaker.

“The political meddling within our own government, within the Justice Department, and within the intelligence community poses a far greater threat to Americans than any Russian Internet troll farm. Without the rule of law, without respect for the Constitution, without honest administration in the Justice Department, we don’t have a republic,” Whitaker wrote.

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