Team Obama geared up Wednesday to fight the policies of the incoming Trump administration, in courtrooms and in the court of public opinion, in a battle that the White House said might include President Obama himself after he leaves office.
From Washington Times
California Democratic state leaders announced they’ve hired former Obama Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. as outside counsel to prepare for the state’s legal fights against the Trump administration on issues such as sanctuary cities. He will lead a team from Covington & Burling, the law firm where he’s been working since leaving the Justice Department in 2015.
California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said Mr. Holder will advise them “in our efforts to resist any attempts to roll back the progress California has made.”
“While we don’t yet know the harmful proposals the next administration will put forward, thanks to Donald Trump’s campaign, Cabinet appointments and Twitter feed, we do have an idea of what we will be dealing with,” Mr. Rendon said. “The Covington team will be an important resource as we work with the governor and the attorney general to protect Californians.”
With the change in administrations, the legislators said, “we expect that there will be extraordinary challenges for California in the uncertain times ahead.”
“This is a critical moment in the history of our nation,” they said in a statement. “We have an obligation to defend the people who elected us and the policies and diversity that make California an example of what truly makes our nation great.”
Judge Jeanine Pirro, a Trump ally who has met with the president-elect, dismissed the move.
“Does anyone think Trump people are scared?” she said on Twitter.
Tim Clark, who served as California director of the Trump/Pence campaign, also ridiculed the hiring of Mr. Holder.
“CA has most debt, worst roads, failing schools, highest poverty. So what’s the plan? Hire #EricHolder to fight Trump,” he wrote on Twitter.
The announcement came as Mr. Obama paid a rare visit to Capitol Hill to strategize with Democratic lawmakers on ways to save Obamacare from repeal by President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans. The president played the role of cheerleader, exhorting lawmakers that they can win the coming fight against the GOP even though they’re outnumbered in Congress and are losing the White House.
Although Mr. Obama has professed a desire to stay out of politics after Mr. Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, the White House didn’t rule out the possibility of him taking an active role in working against the new administration on certain issues. The president told lawmakers as much in their meeting.
“If there are basic, fundamental American values that are undermined by a specific policy proposal, then he may feel the need to speak out,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
The president’s spokesman also said he saw nothing wrong with Mr. Holder getting paid to do battle in court against the new administration on issues such as immigration, climate change and voting rights.
“It’s not surprising to me at all that the state of California would want to choose somebody as smart and as experienced and well-versed in these policy issues as Mr. Holder is,” Mr. Earnest said. “That’s one of the reasons that President Obama chose him to be the attorney general. Obviously, Mr. Holder is a telegenic, articulate advocate for a whole set of issues. And I suspect that the people of the state of California will benefit from him putting those same skills to work advocating for them.”
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