Eric Holder On Priorities For Next Attorney General

As Election Day draws near, both presidential campaigns are preparing for any legal challenges that may arise.

Eric Holder, senior legal advisor to the Obama campaign and former Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, said his team is "preparing for the worst and hoping for the best."

"We're hoping that there will not be anything by way of voter suppression efforts, where people will be challenged unnecessarily, or impediments will be placed in front of people who want to exercise the right to vote," he told NPR's Farai Chideya.

Should Sen. Barack Obama win the presidency, Holder is among those likely to be considered for attorney general. He said he is not yet entertaining the possibility.

"I think we're getting way, way in front of ourselves," he said. "At this point, my only concern is making sure that Tuesday, November the 4th goes well, and that we have a result that I think the majority of the American people are going to be very happy with. That is that Barack Obama becomes the next President of the United States — and he changes the course of this country. And at that point, it will be up to the president to decided what he wants to do with his Cabinet."

Holder also explained how an Obama administration might handle the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, the Justice Department, and investigations of corporate wrongdoing.

On the future of Guantanamo Bay:

"Well, I think the utility of Guantanamo has long since passed. It is a place now that has given, I think, this nation a black eye around the world. It has an impact on our ability to interact with our allies. It certainly gives fuel to our adversaries, who would say that we are a nation that is not governed by law. And so I think the need for it to be closed and to come up with alternatives is pretty clear."

On overhauling the Justice Department:

"When you look at the other issues that I think the next president is going to have to deal with, chief among them is going to be trying to revitalize and remake a Justice Department that has been really sullied in the last four, eight years or so by people who tried to politicize. And I want to make very clear, I am excluding the present Attorney General [Michael Mukasey], who I think is doing a good job, as well the people who served as deputy attorneys general, who I also think have done a good job. But other people at the Justice Department have not necessarily done what has always happened under Republican and Democratic administrations, where the department has essentially been seen as something not political, and really kind of left to its own. That was not the case in this past administration."

On investigating corporate malfeasance:

"Well, I think some really intense, vigorous investigation needs to be done to see if any laws were broken. We're facing the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression and to the extent people have done anything — either by fraud, conspiracy or broken any federal laws — I think that needs to be uncovered, and people need to be held accountable. The United States taxpayers are going to be paying substantial amounts of money for a good many years in order to make this thing better and to prevent this thing from getting worse. And to the extent that people have profited illegally, or done things illegally, they need to be found out and they need to be prosecuted. And I think that should be a priority for the next attorney general."



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