Holder: Sessions needs to 'have the guts' to say no to Trump

Holder: Sessions needs to 'have the guts' to say no to Trump
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Former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderEric Holder: 'There are grounds for impeachment' in Mueller report Prosecutor appointed by Barr poised to enter Washington firestorm Dems struggle to make Trump bend on probes MORE says that Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHouse Democrats leave empty chair for McGahn at hearing MSNBC host: Barr 'the most dangerous person' who works for Trump Chris Wallace: AG Barr 'clearly is protecting' Trump MORE needs to “have the guts” to say no to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE.

Holder criticized Sessions at an event at Georgetown University on Monday, days after Sessions fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeTrump accuses Hillary Clinton of 'destroying the lives' of his campaign staffers The Mueller report concludes it was not needed Ten post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators MORE, who had been a subject of frequent criticism from Trump.

The former Obama administration official said Sessions may have rushed to fire McCabe at Trump’s request. The dismissal came just two days before McCabe was eligible for his pension.

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“It may be that at the end of the day … [McCabe's] termination is appropriate," Holder said. "But you know, you don’t rush that component of it to meet a deadline that I think the president essentially set.”

“You're the attorney general of the United States. You run the damn Justice Department. You know? And you’ve got to have the guts to look at the president every now and again and say 'no,'" he continued.

Holder had already criticized the Trump administration over McCabe’s firing over the weekend. McCade's ouster allegedly came after damning reports from the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility and Office of Inspector General.

Sessions fired McCabe on Friday, saying he hadn’t been fully honest with investigators and made an unauthorized disclosure to the media.

McCabe claims he was fired to try and undermine special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerHouse progressive: Pelosi 'has it right' on impeachment Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna: 'I'm not there yet' on impeachment MORE’s probe into Russia's election interference, in which he could be a key witness.

Holder also criticized Trump for personally attacking McCabe, calling it ”unconscionable" and "punching down."

"You’re the president of the United States and you’re going after a career deputy FBI director ... who doesn’t really have the capacity to defend himself, certainly while he was in that position," he said.

—Gabriella Munoz contributed.