Eric Holder: Putting Trump On Trial After Presidency Would Be A "Cost To The Nation"


DAVID AXELROD, CNN: Do you think Congress should proceed? That’s a different matter than whether they could, whether they have an inquiry. Is impeachment a wise thing to do at this point, and would they be shirking their responsibilities if they didn’t proceed?

FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: I think that they should proceed with an impeachment inquiry, an impeachment investigation. That doesn’t necessarily commit you to actually impeaching the president. I think that’s what people have to understand. I think if you go through a whole proceeding and then make the determination that we’re not going to impeach him, you’re perhaps going to censure him. There’s going to be a sense in the House of Representatives, in that sense that the House of Representatives to lay out all of the things that you have found during the inquiry and not send it to the Senate where I think the Republicans are likely to acquit him – deny him that, but actually lay out to the American people – have witnesses in front of the American people. I want to see Don McGahn testify. I want to see Sessions testify.

AXELROD: Do you think he will, by the way?

I mean look, every administration has its differences with Congress over executive privilege. Your administration and the one that I served in did as well, but they’ve taken a very tough line on this issue of executive privilege.

Do you think that ultimately the courts will compel these people to testify?

HOLDER: Yes. I don’t think that the executive privilege that might have existed still is in existence. The fact that McGahn actually spoke to Bob Mueller waives the privilege that might have otherwise existed and as a result I think as a result will have to go through a court process. But I think ultimately he and others will have to testify.

AXELROD:  If there is no impeachment, do you believe that he subject to prosecution after he leaves office? 
HOLDER:  Well I don’t think there’s any question about that.  We already have an indictment in the Southern District of New York where Michael Cohen.
AXELROD: relative to the payoffs
HOLDER: Relative to the payoffs.  Michael Cohen’s already in jail regards to his role there. 
Individual one is the president.  And it would seem to me that the next attorney general, the next president is going to have to make a determination.
AXELROD:  You know, that’s an interesting question.  You came here at -- in the post Watergate period, President Ford, made a decision to pardon President Nixon because he thought it would be bad for the country to go through a trial of a former president.  Would there be a cost to that?
HOLDER:  Yes, I think there is a potential cost to the nation by putting on trial the former president, and that ought to at least be a part of the calculus that goes into the determination that has to be made by the next attorney general. 
I think we all should understand what a trial former president would do the nation.   I think that saved the determination that Gerald Ford  made with –


AXELROD:  Cost him -- it may have cost him his election in 1976.
HOLDER:  Yes, it might have, but you know I think looking back, I tend to think that that was probably the right thing to do.

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