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Former AG Eric Holder sees 'grounds for impeachment' in Mueller report

The ex-attorney general spoke in an exclusive interview with NBC News.
Image: Securing Sport
Former Attorney General Eric Holder, in 2015. Eduardo Munoz / Reuters file

ATLANTA — Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday he believes that President Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses.

"There are grounds for impeachment" based on special counsel Robert Mueller's report, Holder told NBC News in an exclusive interview. "There’s no question that obstruction of justice does exist in the findings that Bob Mueller reported, and in painstaking detail. And that in and of itself would be the basis for impeachment."

Holder fell shy, however, of calling for the House to begin official proceedings, saying that lawmakers should first hear from Mueller, gather evidence, and see the unredacted report before making a "reasoned decision" on whether to pursue impeachment.

Asked if he thought the U.S. was in a state of constitutional crisis, Holder said, "Not yet" — but "it's forming up."

"I'm concerned about the state of this nation and the way in which the Trump administration is reacting to the legitimate request from Congress," he said. "We could be in a constitutional crisis, but I don’t think we're there quite yet."

Like the current attorney general, William Barr, Holder himself was also held in contempt of Congress during his tenure atop the Justice Department. But Holder stressed that the two instances weren't equivalent, calling them "fundamentally different."

"You compare what happened to me — it was in connection with the 'Fast and Furious' thing — we turned over 7,000 documents, we made people available to testify," Holder said, discussing the issue for the first time publicly. "Barr as you know, and the Trump administration have put kind of a line down saying, 'We’re not going to give you anything.' And we were responsive to Congress, they were not."

During Operation Fast and Furious, the ATF allowed illegal gun sales in order to track them, believing that they were by people linked to Mexican drug cartels.