WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Brushing aside Senate panel queries into whether he might step down, Attorney General Eric Holder suggested he would only do so because of “fatigue,” or when he has accomplished his goals.
Holder faced repeated questions from the Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) about whether or not Holder had become too big of a distraction to continue on as attorney general.
In Thursday’s hearing, Shelby referred to questions about the “veracity” of Holder’s testimony, saying the controversy has become “a significant distraction for this department,” and noted that some have “even called for your resignation.”
Holder dismissed such questions and said the department is running fine under his leadership, but the recent media monitoring and Verizon call-collection controversies are wearing on him.
“The tipping point might be fatigue; you get to a point where you just get tired,” Holder said. “But beyond that … there are certain goals that I set for myself and this department that I set in 2009. When I get to the point where I’ve accomplished all the goals I’ve set, I will sit down and talk with the president about a transition to a new attorney general.”
“In spite of the recent controversies that you’ve mentioned, the department is fully engaged in the work of protecting the American people,” Holder said, “and I am fully engaged in that regard.”
A recent poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal showed that only 10 percent of Americans view him favorably, while 32 percent viewed him negatively.
Holder also stated that the current controversies are part of the job, and he is proud of the work he has done in the past.
“I think that change is frequently a good thing for an organization,” Holder continued. “This has been the honor of my professional life, to serve as attorney general. But I also have such respect for the Department of Justice that I want to make sure that it operates at peak efficiency and that new ideas are constantly being explored.
“I’m proud of the work that I’ve done. I’m proud of the work that the men and women of this department have done under my leadership, and when the time comes for me to step aside for my successor, I will do so.”