The pressure on Barack Obama and Eric Holder after an embarrassing failure in federal court got ratcheted up a bit on Thursday evening. Tim Pawlenty, widely expected to run for the Republican nomination to challenge Obama, told Hugh Hewitt that Obama and Holder made “a fundamental mistake” in attempting to try Ahmed “Foopie” Ghailani in federal court for the murder of more than 200 people in the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, including more than a dozen Americans. After making that kind of mistake and getting the outcome of losing on all but one count of conspiracy, Pawlenty called for Holder’s resignation:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty called on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over the first civilian trial of a Guantanamo detainee who was acquitted on all but one charge.
During an interview with Hugh Hewitt, a conservative talk radio host, Pawlenty said President Obama and the Justice Department “made a huge mistake” trying Ahmed Ghailani in civilian court.
Hewitt : Okay, and should Eric Holder resign?
Pawlenty: You know, I think Eric Holder and the Justice Department made a fundamental mistake, and they put the country, almost put the country at risk, and may still have done it if they continue down this path. And I don’t think you can just stay in that position and have those kinds of outcomes.
Hewitt : That’s a yes.
Obviously, I agree, and I suspect that Congress will get involved at some point to press the issue, at least indirectly. After the debacle in New York’s federal court, Darrell Issa may decide to move the subject to the top of his House Oversight list, if the new Republican chair of the House Judiciary Committee doesn’t get there first. The decision to move Ghailani to federal court came in defiance to three separate Congressional efforts to establish a military commission system to adjudicate these cases. Holder arrogantly told Congress earlier that he could get convictions anywhere and didn’t need military commissions to try people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ghailani.
When you wind up with that kind of egg on your face, it’s customary to remove your embarrassing presence from an administration. We’ll see if Holder takes the hint before both committees also start taking a peek into the potential perjury committed by political appointees in testimony to Congress in the New Black Panther Party. We’ll also see how many other prominent Republicans — and Democrats — start calling for Holder’s resignation.