Holder Nomination Runs Into Opposition Over Clinton Pardons

ericholderThe confirmation of Eric Holder, Jr. is running into some trouble with the planned appearance of witnesses about his role in some of the infamous pardons by Bill Clinton. Some of the greatest abuse of the pardon power occurred in the final week of the Clinton administration, including his use of official power to benefit a family member with the pardon of Roger Clinton. Ironically, however, it is not the most abusive pardons that is attracting the ire of Republicans.

It is hard to feel sympathy of Clinton officials who assisted in the pardons of Roger Clinton, Marc Rich and others. The pardoning of campaign contributors and a family member was shameful abuse of power by Clinton. Holder should be questioned about his role in these abuses. I would personally like to know if Holder was aware of the Roger Clinton pardon and sought to discourage the President in the use of official power to benefit his own family or whether he raised questions on the other pardons like Marc Rich — who seems completely without a meritorious basis for a pardon.

However, the GOP is focusing on the 1999 grant of clemency to members of a Puerto Rican terrorist organization, which was not viewed as abusive but simply unpopular. Former pardon attorney, Roger Adams, has gone public with allegations that Holder pressured staff to drop their opposition to the pardon. However, there was nothing in this pardon (supported by members of Congress, religious groups and President Carter) that was done for personal or political gain — unlike Clinton’s other pardons.

It just shows that politicians can accidentally stumble on an issue of merit and find the one issue that involves not principle but politics.

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49 thoughts on “Holder Nomination Runs Into Opposition Over Clinton Pardons”

  1. Gotta go with Patty C. Her definition matches Miriam Websters:

    One entry found.

    Main Entry:
    drown Listen to the pronunciation of drown
    Inflected Form(s):
    drowned Listen to the pronunciation of drowned \ˈdrau̇nd\ ; drown·ing Listen to the pronunciation of drowning \ˈdrau̇-niŋ\
    Middle English drounen
    14th century

    intransitive verb: to become drowned transitive verb1 a: to suffocate by submersion especially in water b: to submerge especially by a rise in the water level c: to soak, drench, or cover with a liquid2: to engage (oneself) deeply and strenuously 3: to cause (a sound) not to be heard by making a loud noise —usually used with out4 a: to drive out (as a sensation or an idea) b:

  2. ‘Contrary to popular opinion, it is not a simulation of drowning
    — it is drowning.’

    No doubt, his is a descriptive interpretation of the very well-known torturous procedure known as waterboarding a based on a horrific personal experience.

    It is, however, obviously, a fact that waterboarding is not drowning.’

    In medicine, we see ‘near-drownings’ quite often.

    How else do you think Mukasey was able to get away with (not)
    answering the question ‘Is waterboarding torture’ as he did
    ie ‘I would feel that it was’?

    He had no idea what else he should think, anymore than the rest of us who never experienced it, at that point, other than to say that it was already considered torture, worldwide, and had been for centuries.

    It was already illegal. It was already a war crime. No matter what the administration said in preparation of, just prior to, or after the fact as justification or since.

    The only question now is ‘Who ordered it’?

    Rafflaw, my problem with Jill is that, too often, she doesn’t know what she’s is talking about.

  3. From rafflaw’s link,

    “My name is Malcolm Wrightson Nance. I am a former member of the U.S. military intelligence community, a retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer. I have served honorably for 20 years.

    Waterboarding has the ability to make the subject answer any question with the truth, a half-truth or outright lie in order to stop the procedure. Subjects usually resort to all three, often in rapid sequence. Most media representations or recreations of the waterboarding are inaccurate, amateurish and dangerous improvisations, which do not capture the true intensity of the act. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not a simulation of drowning — it is drowning.

    In my case, the technique was so fast and professional that I didn’t know what was happening until the water entered my nose and throat. It then pushes down into the trachea and starts the process of respiratory degradation.

    It is an overwhelming experience that induces horror and triggers frantic survival instincts. As the event unfolded, I was fully conscious of what was happening — I was being tortured.”

  4. Ken:

    “Hilarity run amuck.”


    I hear Eichmann and Goebbels were a riot too. How’d they end up?

  5. rafflaw:

    I think drowning means you have died, much like electrocution means you have been shocked to death. I will check the dictionary.

  6. Anybody dumb enough to believe that Barack Obama is going to risk his place in the history book & re-election over whether to conduct harsh interrogation on a civilian murdering terrorist we have in custody – I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

    The only question to ask is how will they (the left) present it as a 100% different situation Obama was in than Bush and why what Obama did was necessary but what Bush did was criminal.

    Hilarity run amuck.

  7. Mespo,
    I am not a big grammarian, but wouldn’t it have to be written as, “drowned” to say the person is dead? Drowning is the process of dying by swallowing too much water….isn’t it?

  8. On the drowning issue, Patty C is grammatically and logically correct here. Drowning is death as caused by suffocation when a substance enters the lungs and causes interruption of the body’s absorption of oxygen from the air leading to asphyxia. Waterboarding, though barbaric, merely simulates drowning since the person does not die, but it is attempted drowning, in my view.

  9. PattyC,
    I don’t know what the problem is between you and Jill, but more than one expert has stated that waterboarding is drowning because the person is almost dead from the process and then the handlers step in to save him. The longer the person fights it, the closer to death he gets. Here is just one link for you to review: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/11/09/nance/.
    Bell Pepper,


    Then when America gets attacked under Obama (and we for sure will they way he is running up the white flags) the liberals will scream “WATERBOARDING WAS NECESSARY IN LIMITED USE BUT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION OVERDID IT SO OBAMA WASN’T ABLE TO USE IT ON A SUSPECT WE HAD IN CUSTODY! IT IS ALL BUSH’S FAULT!”

    LOL! SO SAD.

  11. Waterboarding simulates drowning. It is NOT drowning.

    It is torture BECAUSE it ‘simulates’ drowning. Otherwise, it would be murder.

    People have died, but from causes other than ‘simulated’ drowning which is not only frightening, but can be life-threatening if performed ‘unproperly’.

    Jill, I am going to make a direct request – that you stop perpetrating such disinformation, especially medical and scientific.

    You are not helping.

  12. Jill,
    You are correct that waterboarding is drowing, not simulate drowning. Mukasey showed us his true colors with that ridiculous answer. Thanks for the wishes. My grandson is adorable, even if he doesn’t look like me!

  13. Sorry to double post.

    Let’s hope we don’t get a repete with Holder. Also see how the press says waterboarding “simulates” drowning. It doesn’t simulate drowning, it is drowning. People have died under this “simulation”. Notice how he feels about expanded presidential authority. There is no way this man should have been confirmed and neither should Holder if he feels the same on either/both points.

  14. rafflaw,

    This may interest you as well: It’s an old article on Mukasey. Best wishes to your family and especially, your new grandson!

    New York Times | PHILIP SHENON | October 18, 2007 10:31 PM

    “President Bush’s nominee for attorney general, Michael B. Mukasey, declined Thursday to say if he considered harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding, which simulates drowning, to constitute torture or to be illegal if used on terrorism suspects.

    On the second day of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Mukasey went further than he had the day before in arguing that the White House had constitutional authority to act beyond the limits of laws enacted by Congress, especially when it came to national defense.”

  15. Thank you Jill. I wanted to confirm what I remembered hearing Mr. Sands say.


    I will go a step farther and say that the Senate displayed a bit of professional cowardice regarding Mukasey’s questioning. I would have grounded my son—when he was younger and not so tall—if he had lied about the weatherboarding issue like Mukasey did.

  16. Jill,
    In my opinion, Mukasey didn’t get confirmed because he refused to answer the waterboarding question. He was confirmed in spite of that preposterous answer. It wouldn’t be preposterous for someone like me to give that answer, but for the candidate for the top Law Enforcement position in the country to say that, it was a joke. I will agree that the Senate as a group was afraid of causing any problems with the caustic issue. I hope that Holder is asked that question and that he bluntly states that it is and was torture and if any US officials authorized it, they will be prosecuted. I am not holding my breath, but I am hopeful.

  17. JT goes into details that, in part, address your question in the Legal Times interview. JT says this question should be asked directly and I agree.

    In my opinion Mukasey was confirmed precisely because he would not say waterboarding is a crime. Some of the Senators have agreed with cheneybush that torture was O.K. with them. They would be looking at the charge of war crimes as well. They couldn’t afford to put anyone in place who would expose them to that risk. I can’t prove what I just said but I think it’s a plausible explanation.

  18. Jill,

    Mr. Sands also stated that the new AG must admit that waterboarding is a crime and then order a criminal investigation.

    Do you know if there is a free written transcript of the NPR/Sands interview that you linked to last week?

  19. Jill,
    I would love that question to be asked of Holder, but why does a refusal by one appointee result in a no vote and the same refusal by Mukasey gets him confirmed? I would hope and expect that Holder will respond with the truthful answer that waterboarding is torture. Maybe a better way of asking it would be to quote the decisions that have held waterboarding as torture and merely ask if Holder agrees with the respective courts decision. It will be an interesting hearing to say the least.

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