For much of the day the Eric Holder confirmation hearing was a sleepy affair. Early on there was some minimal questioning on the Marc Rich (with appropriate contrition) and the FALN terrorist pardons (less apologetic on that front), but frankly the questioning was unfocused and ineffective. The highlights: Holder’s admission that DC v. Heller leaves little room for gun regulation, and his extreme position that even if tens of thousands of Americans lives were at risk he would not waterboard a terrorist. ( Is he serious?)
Late in the day however Sen. Grassley pushed Holder on the Marc Rich pardon. Holder sought to deny that his actions helped get the pardon through. His claim that he didn’t do anything “affirmatively” to make the pardon happen is belied by the record, I think. (There is credible evidence that he directed Rich to find his lawyer, provided that lawyer with advice, steered them around the Justice Department and gave them a “neutral, leaning favorable” recommendation.)
Sen. Specter then followed up with some fairly sharp queries. Holder denied that he had aided Rich’s attorney or ever received a briefing on the facts. Specter laced into him about overriding the career attorney’s recommendation on the FALN terrorists, but Holder insisted he was just telling his subordinate to “do his job.” It is unclear if Specter changed any minds, but at least things perked up.