Battered Holder Accepts White House Help

Drubbing on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed trial humbles aloof AG
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2010 10:21 AM CST
In this Nov. 13, 2009 file photo, Attorney General Eric Holder gestures during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(Newser) – Eric Holder once angrily told the White House that his job was about the law, not politics, but the attorney general’s changed his tune after his plan to put Khalid Shaikh Mohammed on trial in New York was crushed by opposition from almost every quarter. Two weeks ago Holder met with White House advisers to hammer out a political strategy going forward, the New York Times reports. Obama’s team agreed to let Holder speak out more publicly, provided he lets them coach him on his message.

The 9/11 trials have become a political lightning rod that’s “starting to constrain my ability to function as attorney general,” he tells the Times. “I have to do a better job in explaining the decisions that I have made.” David Axelrod says he’ll help Holder with his communication strategy, but only after his legal decisions have been made. “He’s in a tough spot,” Axelrod added. “All he wants to do is bring these people to justice.”

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