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 HolderBiden under pressure to pick new breed of federal prosecutors Obama says Senate will vote again on voting rights Obama: Voting rights bill must pass before next election MORE says that Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases MORE needs to “have the guts” to say no to President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE.

Holder criticized Sessions at an event at Georgetown University on Monday, days after Sessions fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeThe FBI should turn off the FARA faucet John Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges Carter Page sues over surveillance related to Russia probe 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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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.