Former Attorney General Eric Holder: 'I think we're seeing a stress test the likes of which we've not seen since Watergate'
- Former Attorney General Eric Holder called Republican attacks on the FBI dangerous and damaging in the long term.
- Holder said the US is "seeing a stress test the likes of which we've not seen since Watergate."
WASHINGTON - Former Attorney General Eric Holder chided attacks on the Justice Department and FBI by Republicans, saying "they will have a long-term negative impact on the ability of the people in law enforcement to do their jobs."
Holder, who served as attorney general during the majority of President Barack Obama's administration, told reporters on Wednesday that accusations of scheming and favoritism for Democrats are "unfounded" and only being used for partisan gain.
"I think for something that is for short-term partisan gain, people are not looking at the long-term consequences of that," Holder said. "When you try to delegitimize a probe and try to delegitimize the FBI and you try to delegitimize the Justice Department, that has long-term collateral consequences."
Holder also said current Attorney General Jeff Sessions was not being proactive enough in defending law enforcement from certain Republicans.
"And I'm disturbed by that - uniquely disturbed by the fact that I've seen nothing from this attorney general to defend the people of the Justice Department who are patriots and who do their jobs without any regard to partisan politics," he said. "They need to be defended."
Many Republicans have accused the FBI and other law enforcement officials, including special counsel Robert Mueller, of failing to uphold political objectivity in their work.
In addition, President Donald Trump has gone on tirades against FBI officials, including Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
"How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin' James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife's campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?" Trump wrote on Twitter last month.
And Holder added that while American institutions and the "founding documents" are strong, "I think we're seeing a stress test the likes of which we've not seen since Watergate."
"And at that point, people put partisan politics aside and decided that country was more important than party," Holder said. "I hope we'll see the same thing here."