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Atty. Gen. Holder defends record, hints at possible successor

June 06, 2013|By Richard A. Serrano
  • Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee in Washington.
Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before the Senate Appropriations… (Win McNamee / Getty Images )

WASHINGON — Embattled Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. sharply defended his work as the Obama administration’s top federal law enforcement official but also conceded Thursday that he sees a day when he will meet with the president at the White House to discuss his successor.

“There are certain goals that I set for myself and for this department when I started back in 2009,’’ Holder said, testifying before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. “When I get to a point where I think that I have accomplished all the goals that I set, I will sit down with the president and we'll talk about a transition to a new attorney general.”

Holder did not indicate when that meeting might occur. But later in the hearing, when asked about future budget problems because of the federal government’s sequestration process, he said that “whoever is the attorney general a year or two years from now” will have to deal with those issues.

Holder has been under increasing fire, mostly from Republicans, for the failed Fast and Furious gun tracking operation and more recently for the leak investigations that have ensnared news media reporters.

Earlier in his tenure, he was sharply criticized for trying to move the trial of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others to New York, and he has been targeted for wanting to close the terror detainee prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A growing number of conservatives have called for his resignation, and though he did not discuss that at the hearing, he said earlier this week that he had no immediate plans to step down.

But, he said Thursday, “I think that change is frequently a good thing for an organization, a new perspective.

“This has been the honor of my professional life, to serve as attorney general. But I also have such respect for the Department of Justice that I want to make sure that it operates at peak efficiency and that new ideas are constantly being explored.”

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Richard.Serrano@latimes.com

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