September 27, 2010 / by emptywheel


As Axe Slams Rahm from One Side, Greg Craig Slams from the Other

I trust it’s not a coincidence that at the same time David Axelrod is skewering Rahm from within the White House, Greg Craig is getting picked up on a live mike (oops!) skewering him from the outside.

“The great thing about it, if Rahm goes to run for mayor, is that Eric survived,” Craig said, according to an audio recording of the Sept. 21 event.

The National Law Journal requested a copy of the recording from the law school, and the school provided one. The recording includes Craig’s speech and a question-and-answer session, as well as two and a half minutes of pre-speech banter between Craig and Trevor Morrison, a Columbia law professor who introduced Craig to the audience. They touched on Holder’s relationship with Emanuel and on the case of accused terrorist Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani.

As Craig suggests, Emanuel’s departure would mean Holder will have outlasted an internal rival with whom, according to news reports, Holder has repeatedly clashed on subjects like the venue for trying terrorism suspects. And it would mean Emanuel wouldn’t be around to attempt to force Holder out if tensions flared again.


A questioner asked Craig why he left. Craig responded that he did so for “a number of different reasons,” and then he focused squarely on Emanuel.

“One of the reasons was that I did not get along with the chief of staff well,” Craig said, “and I think that the coordination between the White House counsel and the chief of staff is vital to the success of the working of the White House.”

Though, I’d challenge Craig: What good has Holder’s outlasting Rahm done after Friday’s audacious claim to unlimited power? There’s no indication at all that Rahm was pushing Holder to submit a motion basically saying, “the President can kill any American, and he doesn’t have to show the Courts any justification for why, which is good because we can’t even make a good argument to support it.” I mean, sure, Rahm had a big hand in pissing away Obama’s bid to moral standing. But Holder’s DOJ has simply embraced the disdain for law that Rahm handed them and run with it, all on their own now.

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