UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Press Conference ERIC HOLDER, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL Thursday, March 4, 1999 9:28 a.m. P R O C E E D I N G S
MR. HOLDER: Good morning.
VOICES: Good morning.
QUESTION: Can we get the conspiracy theory out of the way? Did the White House have any input or any influence of the decision of the Department on the Independent Counsel Act?
MR. HOLDER: To get rid of the conspiracy theory right away -- I formed a group some months ago to look at the question of what position the Justice Department ought to take with regard to the reauthorization of the Act. The Attorney General didn't even know, at least the beginning, of the existence of this group, because I wanted her to be in a position to be able to say, in these press availabilities among other places, that this was something that she had not been involved in. I revealed to her the existence of the group.
And then, I guess, a couple of weeks ago, a few weeks ago, revealed to her what our recommendation was; told the White House what our recommendation was, I think, about 10 days ago, maybe 14 days ago, or so. It might have been shorter than that, in a meeting that we had with Mr. Ruff. And all he said was, Let me think about this for a day or so, or maybe a couple of days.
And then they came back to us and said that the testimony that I was going to give had been cleared. But they had no substantive role in the formulation of the change in policy or the positions that I took two days ago.
QUESTION: Mr. Holder, just to follow that up, was telling the White House sort of a standard testimony clearance through OMB kind of thing or is it your view that you would have taken this position no matter what, but you were wondering whether it would become not merely the Justice Department's view, but the entire administration's view; is that the reason?
MR. HOLDER: Well, there is that obligation we have to do the OMB clearance process. But I think the reality is, had we decided to stake out a position that the White House thought was inappropriate -- we are part of the administration, headed by the President -- and that might have changed the testimony I ultimately gave.
QUESTION: Did you get some sense that it wouldn't have represented the administration, it would have just represented Justice, or you might have had to actually change what your recommendation was?
MR. HOLDER: I do not know. It would be hard for me to imagine that I would have testified in a way, inconsistent with where the President wanted the administration to be. I do not think there would have been two views. But it worked out that we were of a mind, of the same mind.
QUESTION: Does that contact with Ruff, there was no discussion with the White House about the substance of the testimony?
MR. HOLDER: No.
QUESTION: So if (off microphone) had nixed it, you would have testified against the recommendations of your group?
MR. HOLDER: I do not know. I mean it would be hard to say exactly -- you know, it's kind of a "what if." I do not know what the objections might have been, request for modification -- I do not know.
QUESTION: The alternative you favor, you expressed in your testimony as favoring, would be bringing the IC -- abolishing the IC and developing some investigative capacity in house at Justice that would take its place. Is that the best alternative?
MR. HOLDER: The Justice Department is fully capable of investigating the vast majority of these cases. I mean I served as a prosecutor in the Public Integrity Section for 12 years, in Republican and in Democratic administrations. The people I served under were people of great integrity, people of honor.
I didn't always agree, frankly, with all the policy decisions that were enunciated by various Assistant Attorneys General or Attorneys General, even sometimes in Democratic administrations. But I always felt that people were there trying to do the right thing. And we have a cadre of dedicated career prosecutors in this Department who have the ability to look at these cases objectively and to decide them.
If we let it revert back to the Justice Department, we will also have the capacity to appoint special prosecutors, independent counsels, whatever they would be called, whenever the Attorney General felt that was appropriate -- we've got a flag making a lot of noise out here.
QUESTION: Mr. Holder, you certainly emphasized greatly the notion of budget accountability, both in the positive sense at the Justice Department as accountable, and the negative sense that an independent counsel is not. I have two questions on that point. You specifically mentioned congressional oversight in accountability as a favorable point towards the Justice Department.
Is it the Justice Department's position that Congress can appropriately reduce budget appropriations by legislative action when it disagrees with the conduct of a criminal investigation involving a political figure? And, secondly, in the interest of accountability, would you provide us figures, with the amounts spent, on the campaign finance investigation since it was initiated?
MR. HOLDER: I think we have put together some numbers on that in response to a congressional inquiry. I'll let Myron look into that, but I think we've already supplied that information. I do not know how current it is. That was done, as I remember, some months ago.
QUESTION: Would that become routine, that you would quantify the amount of money spent on investigations?
MR. HOLDER: I'm not sure it would be routine. If it was something that -- I mean, I think Congress has a legitimate basis, as part of its oversight responsibility, to ask those kinds of questions. I would hope that those requests wouldn't become routine, on the other hand. It's hard enough to do these investigations without having to worry about providing that kind of information. I mean, that took us a while, as a I remember it, to accumulate that information, figure out how much we spent on prosecutors, agents, things of that nature. But we did ultimately put it together and send it up to Congress, as I remember.
QUESTION: And on the other point, about Congress' authority to dock you money when it disagrees with the conduct of a criminal investigation?
MR. HOLDER: Well, I would certainly hope that would not be something that Congress would do. We get a budget that is set at the beginning of a fiscal year, and it is a budget that we then have to live with. I would not expect that if there were an opinion, a prosecutive determination made that Congress did not agree with, that that would result in some kind of decrease in our budget. I would hope that that wouldn't happen.
QUESTION: Well, what changed between 1994 and now? I mean, then you were 15 years into this law, and you knew you had cost figures and all of that. And now you're 20 years into it; there's a five-year difference. Is it that you're trying to be consistent with the administration's position, and that the President supported it then and doesn't support it now?
MR. HOLDER: I think there has been an accumulation of experience with the Act. One looks at the way in which the Act has been used, the criticism that has flowed to the Independent Counsel, as well as to the Attorney General, in the formulation of decisions in connection with the Act. I mean, the Act was designed to instill public confidence in the decisions that were made around these issues. And I do not think that you can look at the decisions made either by the Attorney General or by independent counsels and say that that objective has been met.
QUESTION: It's something in the last five years, though, right?
MR. HOLDER: I'm sorry?
QUESTION: It's something that happened in the last five years. I mean, what changed in the five years, from when the time she supported it and now she doesn't support it? What's changed in those five years, all of a sudden, that you don't like the accountability and you don't like the costs and all of that?
MR. HOLDER: Well, I would tend to think that some of the things that I talked about in my testimony have become perhaps more acute in the last few years. But I would not say that they're unique to this five-year period. I think some of the criticisms that were raised earlier, some of the concerns that were raised earlier were legitimate then.
QUESTION: Did your group identify any independent counsel investigations that you believe did in fact enhance public confidence or were done in accordance with the intent and spirit of the law?
MR. HOLDER: I mean, certainly, I do not mean, and I hope my testimony was not seen, as some kind of blanket criticism of independent counsels. My criticism was of the law, and the fact that the law, as structured, does not meet the objectives that it was supposed to meet. There are a host of independent counsel, I think, who have done a fine job in looking at the matters that were referred to them, expeditiously resolving them and, I would hope, instilling public confidence. But even in some of those instances where decisions were made in a way that I would think should have instilled public confidence, I'm not necessarily sure that they did.
QUESTION: Have some independent counsel operated in such a way that you believe it diminished public confidence?
MR. HOLDER: Some would say that. But I think some would also say some of the decisions made by the Attorney General have not necessarily instilled public confidence. I do not think that those criticisms are necessarily valid, but I think we have to be honest with one another, and realize that those criticisms are out there.
QUESTION: Mr. Holder, may I ask you about one thing that came up in the hearing? You said twice, in response to questions from members, that there are and have been no negotiations with Ken Starr about how his office will be investigated. Can you clarify -- and I'm not sure I could tell from your testimony -- how many times there had been a meeting -- was it a meeting between Mr. Starr and Ms. Reno, or someone else on your staff -- perhaps you -- in which he just stated his concerns? Was there an exchange of letters? What's happened here?
MR. HOLDER: We have met with the Office of the Independent Counsel at a variety of levels on a number of occasions. There have been a number of meetings between the Attorney General and Mr. Starr. There have been meetings at levels lower than that.
We are, by the terms of the statute, supposed to support the Independent Counsel -- not only Mr. Starr, but other independent counsels. And to the extent that we have had the ability to do that, we have tried to do that. We have tried to keep open lines of communication with Independent Counsel Starr, as well as other independent counsels.
So, the fact of the meetings I do not think has been all that extraordinary.
QUESTION: Well, I guess I was specifically asking simply about the investigation. When you said there have been a number of meetings, do you mean on the subject of the investigation?
MR. HOLDER: No. There have been a number of meetings about a variety of things.
QUESTION: Well, then, I guess what I'm saying is I couldn't tell from your testimony -- and maybe that was by design -- whether there was just one meeting in which he expressed his concerns about the investigation. Is that right, just one? And these were not negotiations?
MR. HOLDER: There was a meeting in which Mr. Starr did raise -- we structured a meeting so that he would be allowed to raise concerns that he had. But that was not the only topic of that meeting.
QUESTION: What specific concerns did he raise? Did he, for instance, look at who would be investigating this or what issues would be investigated? Can you elaborate on what those concerns were?
MR. HOLDER: I wouldn't comment on that.
QUESTION: Who initiated the meeting, that one, the Sunday meeting?
MR. HOLDER: Frankly, I do not remember. I'm not sure.
QUESTION: Were you there at the meeting, though?
MR. HOLDER: I was there -- yeah, I believe I was.
QUESTION: And the Attorney General was there?
MR. HOLDER: The Attorney General was there.
QUESTION: And was it on a Sunday?
MR. HOLDER: It was on a Sunday.
QUESTION: Let's get to some basics. Is the Department now ready to acknowledge at least that it's considering an investigation or review of Mr. Starr's office?
MR. HOLDER: I'd simply say what I think we have said all along. We have received these allegations. They have been referred to our Office of Professional Responsibility. And we're trying to decide what the appropriate course of action is to take.
QUESTION: Mr. Holder, the OIC, as the Justice Department has said, the OIC has said that its response in the Landmark Legal Foundation matter, as far as it's concerned, is public and will make that response available to reporters as soon as possible. Will the Justice Department do so also?
MR. HOLDER: Yes, I expect that we would. I'm not sure if there are any motions or something that might have to be filed or whether -- I'm not quite sure if our responses would necessarily have to be, at least initially, under seal or in camera -- something like that. But I do not think we would have any objection to allowing our response, ultimately, to be released.
QUESTION: But you, I think, made clear in your testimony that the law does provide the Attorney General some review of independent counsels. In this particular question with regard to the three-judge panel, does the panel have any authority to determine whether the Attorney General can look at an independent counsel to see if there is a need dismissal for good cause?
MR. HOLDER: Well, I think that's clearly one of the issues that would have to be considered. And I'll let our filing speak for itself in that regard.
QUESTION: Mr. Holder, in prior statements, the Department has said that an independent counsel, in a disciplinary context, is different than a U.S. Attorney, and somehow it's a sui generis creation. In that -- whatever category you put it in -- does -- speaking abstractly now -- does the subject of such a disciplinary inquiry, who has an independent counsel mandate, have any privilege in just stating preferences as to the form of the investigation?
MR. HOLDER: Speaking abstractly, as you say, the responsibility for any investigation is the Attorney General's. And under the terms of the statute, and as I testified, I think the Attorney General clearly has that authority. In taking into account how an investigation would be run, and given the fact that there has to be deference paid to the statute which required an independent investigation, I think it's appropriate to take into account the concerns that might be raised by an independent counsel.
That does not mean, however, that the decision is made by anybody other than the Attorney General, who statutorily has that responsibility.
QUESTION: Mr. Holder, the statute does say that the Attorney General can fire an independent counsel for good cause. No one at this point outside the Justice Department knows what that good cause is, or an offence. The Independent Counsel is being investigated for standards that neither he nor anyone else knows about. Has the Justice Department determined what that good cause is? And if it has, can you tell us?
MR. HOLDER: Well, I do not have the ability right now to, off the top of my head, explain to you what "good cause" is. But there are cases in which that phrase has been interpreted. And in trying to determine exactly what good cause is, those are the kinds of things we look at precedent to decide exactly what good cause means.
QUESTION: Is it possible that you could reach the level of good cause by adding up lesser incidents into a pattern that would show, over time, that an independent counsel had misbehaved, whereas each individual incident might not have reached that level?
MR. HOLDER: I do not think I want to comment on that. That is getting a little away from Roberto's abstraction. And I think I'd like to stay close to that.
QUESTION: Back to the Attorney General's view that we wanted to have kind of a different opinion on the independent counsel statute, have any impact on the three decisions she's made on whether to go forward with independent counsel investigations in recent months?
MR. HOLDER: No. The decisions made by the Attorney General up to now, and any decision that would have to be made under the Act, I guess until June 30th, are made with an understanding that that is the law as it now stands. And any positions or concerns we had about the law did not in any way affect any of the decisions that the Attorney General has made under the Act. I mean, she has appointed seven independent counsels. She's referred matters -- at least 10 matters -- to independent counsels under this Act.
So, I do not think anybody can say legitimately that, whatever our concerns are with the law, that this Justice Department has not enforced the law in an appropriate way.
QUESTION: Can I ask a small question and then a larger one? You said she's appointed seven independent counsels. When we've asked about this number before, we're always told seven that we know of, or seven that we can talk about. There are no others; it's just seven?
MR. HOLDER: I think that's right. But I'll let Myron maybe clear that up, just to make sure that I haven't somehow -- unknowingly -- misled you.
QUESTION: Okay. Now, the larger question is: I gathered one of the points in your testimony is that part of the problem of the Independent Counsel Act is that you set up this independence and that, in a sense, no one really has accountability for the independent counsel's actions, and so everyone comes in for criticism, except the independent counsel, for what happens. In other words, Congress is mad at the Attorney General because she does or because she doesn't, and there's this sort of diffuse responsibility.
Why is that necessarily so? If that's a problem with the Independent Counsel Act, why can't independent counsels themselves be more responsible for their actions? I guess I ask that because they always say, you know, we just can't explain ourselves, we can't answer criticisms, we can't -- why is that? Why can't independent counsels get right up there and defend what they do? Why need they be so unaccountable?
MR. HOLDER: Well, because it's not generally what prosecutors are expected to do. You wouldn't necessarily want to have -- and let's not restrict ourselves to independent counsels -- you would not necessarily want to have prosecutors out there and always trying to explain, defend themselves. Prosecutors, I think, do best when they use the courtroom to --
QUESTION: But you were a U.S. Attorney; that's a considerable amount of what they do.
MR. HOLDER: Right. I mean, there are certain instances in which I think it is appropriate for prosecutors to respond to criticisms. But I think that's a power that prosecutors ought to use sparingly.
But, again, my criticism is with, and the concern that I expressed is with, the structure of the Act, and the way it has created structural pressures on people who are named independent counsels to act in ways that I do not think we want prosecutors to act
Let me also say that I think that part of the problem is the culture that we have here in Washington, where, for whatever reason -- and I think this is true on both sides of the aisle -- people do not have faith in our institutions to the degree that I think we should have. People don't have trust in people who hold positions in this whole process to the degree that I think they should have.
I think it is a criticism that is valid now and it was valid when this Act -- during other times when we've had this Act.
QUESTION: A inclined or disinclined to handle a possible investigation of Starr outside the Department?
MR. HOLDER: I'm sorry?
QUESTION: Are you inclined or disinclined to handle any investigation of Starr's conduct outside the Department?
MR. HOLDER: The Attorney General will make an appropriate decision at an appropriate time as to how any investigation -- if one should occur -- would be done.
QUESTION: Will you be making that decision before you have to file with the Special Division on Monday?
MR. HOLDER: I would not expect so.
QUESTION: Mr. Holder, given the way that the statute is written, with the "good cause" language, do you see your only options in referring this to OPR as being a recommendation for Mr. Starr's removal or no action, or is there some middle ground that would still be consistent with the law and allow him to maintain his independence?
MR. HOLDER: Well, let me not comment on that specific, but let me say this. I mean, there are independent counsels who have, in their employ, Assistant United States Attorneys, people who we put on detail with various independent counsels. And we have the ability to use internal Justice Department regulations in the discipline of them. So, there is that middle ground, at least with regard to Assistant U.S. Attorneys who work for independent counsels.
QUESTION: Mr. Holder, in talking to people who served in Public Integrity in the past, including some who served when you were there, that the quality, or their ability to handle the sorts of cases they might get once the statute lapses has diminished since the time you were. Can you talk a little bit about what might need to be done to beef up the Section so they could handle these sorts of high-profile cases?
MR. HOLDER: Well, I'm sure if you talked to people who once served in the Public Integrity Section, they'll always say that, you know, it was much better when they were there.
QUESTION: Well, they gave very specific reasons, involving more assertive U.S. Attorneys, a greater willingness of Justice itself to let U.S. Attorneys handle cases that might have once gone to Public Integrity, and other reasons.
MR. HOLDER: Well, I think the Public Integrity Section remains a really good section within this Department. It is led by a person who I think has great abilities, Lee Radick, a person who is very experienced in these matters, and has seen an awful lot in his time as a public corruption prosecutor. I mean, he was there, he was one of the original people named to the Section back in 1976.
And it is people with the prosecutors who are experienced, who have good trial skills, good investigative abilities. I think the Public Integrity Section is fully capable of handling any of the matters that we give to them. And they handle some of the most sensitive things that the Department does.
QUESTION: (Off Microphone)-- at this point that might need to be made, whether just more people or different sorts of people? Or is it just that it is ready to handle it today?
MR. HOLDER: I think it could. There might be increased responsibilities if the proposal that I talked about actually came to fruition. You might want to think about bolstering, giving increased numbers of prosecutors to the Section.
QUESTION: Mr. Holder, a case down in North Carolina that the Justice Department is investigating a school with an Indian mascot, the Squaws. Can you bring us up to date on that maybe why a high school has warranted Justice Department attention?
MR. HOLDER: As I remember, we got a letter from somebody in North Carolina. That letter, I think, was being reviewed. I'm not certain that we've taken any action beyond that. But Myron, perhaps, could get you some more details on that.
QUESTION: Now that the USOC, the IOC and the SLOC have all completed their investigations, how does the Justice Department investigation stand?
MR. HOLDER: It's proceeding. We're taking into account all the information we get from any of the other investigations. We have prosecutors out there, agents out there, and I think the investigation is going pretty well.
QUESTION: Any idea when this might wrap up?
MR. HOLDER: No, no real sense of that.
QUESTION: Mr. Holder, on the proposal you envision and, in fact, what the situation will be as of july 1st I imagine if the Act is to lapse, you've invoked the picture of a special prosecutor who could be named in situations where the Department has an explicit conflict of interest in an investigation. How would that prosecutor be different than an independent counsel on this range of problems you have in terms of prosecutorial discretion, budget authority, public accountability, public criticism? And how would a special prosecutor solve those problems in a way that an independent counsel doesn't now?
And, secondly, if Public Integrity were to have the volume of activity that now falls under various independent counsels, just the number -- the amount of litigation, bolstering -- I think you're talking about multiplying it vastly. Have you envisioned what kind of a structure would result if, for example, Public Integrity were now handling simply the volume of litigation that has arisen from executive branch investigations under this administration?
MR. HOLDER: We would obviously have to look at what would flow Public Integrity Section's way, and then make some resource determinations. But when I was the U.S. Attorney, we handled a matter that was, I guess, independent counsel-like. The Ira Magaziner matter was referred to us, I guess, by Judge Lamberth. And that involved two prosecutors working, as I remember it, for about six or seven months, working with, I do not know, three agents, two agents, something along those lines. And I think we did a good job in that case, and filed a report with the court, that I think Judge Lamberth thought was a good report.
One of the problems that you have with independent counsels, as I said, is that they have lots of start-up costs. I mean a lot of the things that they have to kind of put in place already exist in the Public Integrity Section. I mean just the hiring of staff, support personnel, Xerox machines, typewriters. I mean these are all the kinds of things that the Public Integrity Section would not have to do.
QUESTION: Mr. Holder, may I very quickly ask you about the timing of the decision on the Independent Counsel Act?
Two weeks ago, we were in this room, asking you questions. And it seemed very much at the time that you still believed that the Independent Counsel Act would be adjusted. There was no sense that you felt, or that the task force felt, that it should be allowed to lapse. You said that 10 or 15 days ago you were talking to Charles Ruff, or were talking to the White House, telling them that the Department had decided to reject the Independent Counsel Act.
When did the task force and you personally make this decision, and when did you communicate it to the Attorney General and get her approval?
MR. HOLDER: I do not know exactly when that happened. I mean, my timing might be off in terms of 10-14 days. And I would hope that I did not give you all the impression two weeks ago that -- in the way that you just described. By that time, the task force certainly had made its mind up that -- made up its mind that we ought to go in a way that I testified a couple of days ago. And I might not have wanted to share at that point exactly where the task force had come out, but I hope I did not indicate to you at that point that --
QUESTION: There was at least one story, it wasn't mine but at least one story coming out of that news conference which said that you believed (Off microphone)?
QUESTION: Or making adjustments, at the least.
MR. HOLDER: Adjustments, at the least. Well, all right. Adjustments, at the least, would be consistent with what --
MR. HOLDER: This would be a major adjustment that I talked about.
MR. HOLDER: I mean, I really mean this. I did not intend to mislead anybody. And I hope that I did not. But I probably was not intending to reveal at that point exactly where the task force was. And it might have been -- and I just don't remember -- it might have been that we had not communicated with the Attorney General at that point or did not feel that this was going to be the administration policy at that point, and did not feel that I could, therefore, be as open as I was two days ago and, hopefully, I am now.
QUESTION: Was there a point where you told her, she approved, she knew you were going to make this decision?
MR. HOLDER: Yes.
QUESTION: Do you think there's any problem with adding in a "good cause" dismissal clause to the regulatory special counsel provisions, as the Congressmen were asking you the other day? Are there any pros and cons on that?
MR. HOLDER: I've actually looked at the regulations that now exist. And there are regulations that exist with regard to the appointment of independent counsels, special prosecutors. I'm not exactly sure what they're called. And there is a removal provision that does indicate that removal can be for good cause.
It's my feeling that what we need to do is look at that and, if we're going to leave "good cause" as the standard, more clearly define that within the statute, as opposed to making us go back to other cases, other instances, to try to define what "good cause" means.
QUESTION: As far as you know, in the 200-year history of using special prosecutors, special whatever they're called, regulatory -- has anyone ever been removed for cause?
MR. HOLDER: I do not know. Maybe Myron could look at that.
QUESTION: A little earlier you said we look to precedent to establish what good cause is. If I'm hearing you right now, you're saying what you'd really like to do is spell it out?
MR. HOLDER: Well, good cause is defined in a whole bunch of different contexts.
QUESTION: What do you think it should be?
MR. HOLDER: Well, we'd look at precedent as a starting point, and then try to figure out from there what we think good cause ought to be.
QUESTION: But you'd write it down? I mean, you'd make it something that you could look at and say this is and this isn't?
MR. HOLDER: Yes, I think I'd at least make that attempt to say good cause includes the following things. And probably not a list that would be exhaustive, but it would be a little more instructive than simply those two words.
QUESTION: Is that what happened to Archibald Cox, the exercise of that?
MR. HOLDER: History shows that he was removed for bad cause.
QUESTION: Aside from the removal function, can I ask you again how a special prosecutor would differ from an independent counsel in terms of resolving the fundamental flaws that you've identified here?
MR. HOLDER: I think you still have a person who would have a sufficient degree of independence that would instill confidence in people that the decision that the person ultimately made was an appropriate one. But you'd also have a prosecutor more closely aligned with the Department, more clearly subject to Justice Department regulations, and I guess a greater expectation that the prosecutor would act in a way and in a manner consistent with the way other Federal prosecutors are expected to act.
QUESTION: Do you think that independent counsels have acted in a way that's inconsistent with the way other Federal prosecutors generally act?
MR. HOLDER: No, I do not think that's generally true. But the Act itself does not, I think -- is not perhaps explicit enough in that way.
QUESTION: In general, has it happened with independent counsels? Has that type of rogue activity occurred, in your mind?
MR. HOLDER: I would not say that there's been any rogue activity. I wouldn't describe it that way.
QUESTION: Let me return -- you were talking about in theory and not specific to any particular independent counsel, but the notion that you could investigate or you could look at Assistant U.S. Attorneys working in an office of an independent counsel. So, are you saying that conceivably you could have an investigation where an independent counsel is not, quote, the target, but simply members of the staff?
MR. HOLDER: It's possible. But what I'm saying is that -- and, again, we're speaking theoretically now here -- and let me make it very clear, I'm not talking about Independent Counsel Starr, I'm talking theoretically.
It's possible that if an allegation were received by us and we decided it was something that we wanted to look at, involving an Assistant United States Attorney, or if we discovered something in the course of an investigation of an independent counsel that implicated an Assistant United States Attorney, I think Department of Justice regulations would be applicable in that case. And it might be appropriate for the Justice Department to impose discipline, or it might be something we'd refer to the independent counsel for the independent counsel to look at and to impose some discipline.
VOICE: One more question.
QUESTION: There's talk that you're going to be considering the renomination of Bill Lann Lee. Can you just explain why you would want to -- if you decide to do that -- why you would want to nominate a candidate who Senator Hatch has said, you know, won't make it?
MR. HOLDER: I expect that Bill will be renominated shortly. Bill Lee is a fine lawyer. He is within the mainstream when it comes to civil rights law. He is an advocate for the civil rights community. He is a person who shares the President's views with regard to civil rights law. And I think he will be a fine Assistant Attorney General. And it is for that reason that he will, I expect, be renominated very shortly.
VOICE: Thank you.
QUESTION: Has Muammar Qaddafi and his troops had enough time now to accept or reject the offer of trying the two suspects in The Hague? Has he run out of time, or do you think he's had enough time?
MR. HOLDER: Well, that's a matter I think probably more appropriately addressed by the State Department.
VOICES: Thank you.
(Whereupon, at 10:03, the press conference concluded.)