WASHINGTON–A new book about the Obama administration adds more to the story about tensions between Attorney General Eric Holder, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel when he was White House chief of staff.
Valerie Jarrett once broke up a near-fight between Axelrod and Holder, the book reveals.
The book is “Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency” by Daniel Klaidman, a former Newsweek managing editor now with Newsweek/DailyBeast.
Some other highlights, according to news reports about the book:
Emanuel was not pleased that Holder could go around him because he had his own channel of communication with Obama; they were social friends as were their wives.
Senior Advisor Jarrett broke up a fight between Holder and Obama’s then Senior Adviser David Axelrod (now top campaign strategist) after a Cabinet meeting. Neither Jarrett nor Axelrod denied the episode.
Excerpts from the story about the book in Main Justice, the website of record about the Justice Department:
“After word spread from Holder aides that they believed the White House was attempting to place a political operative named Chris Sautter within the Justice Department, Axelrod confronted the attorney general. Axelrod had been careful to “not to come close to that line,” knowing such a move could “detonate a full-blown scandal.”
“‘I’m not Karl Rove,’ ” Axelrod said to Holder, a reference to the 2006 scandal over the firings of U.S. Attorneys that Democrats called politically motivated.
“Holder did not appreciate being publicly dressed down by the president’s most senior political adviser. Determined to stand his ground against Tammany Hall, the AG ripped into him in full view of other White House staffers.,” Kladiman writes.
It continues: ” ‘That’s bullshit,’ [Holder] replied vehemently. The two men stood chest to chest. It was like a school yard fight back at their shared alma mater, Stuyvesant, the elite public high school for striving kids from New York City. White House staffers caught in the crossfire averted their eyes. Jarrett, whose office was nearby, materialized as things got hot. Petite and perfectly put together as always, she pushed her way between the two men, her sense of decorum disturbed, ordering them to ‘take it out of the hallway.'”
TENSIONS WITH RAHM
“…Holder’s legendary tension with former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is also described. Emanuel thought Jarrett was Holder’s spy within the White House, Klaidman writes. In one meeting in which Emanuel criticized Holder, Emanuel “noticed Jarrett pick up her BlackBerry and begin typing. Later, when Holder was at the White House on other business, he went to see Emanuel in his office. He closed the door behind him and
JARRETT TALKS HOLDER OUT OF RESIGNING
“…Holder “sank into a depression” following the death of his mother and a public backlash against his plans to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, in federal court in New York, according to Klaidman’s book.
“Holder enjoyed a close personal relationship with President Barack Obama even as he clashed with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and White House political adviser David Axelrod over his handling of terror detainees and speeches early in the administration on gun control and race relations, according to the book.
Holder ultimately decided to stay at the urging of presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, who told him that if he quit, “this will not be good for you and it will not be good for your friend, the president,” according to the book.