When Rand Paul Met Eric Holder

July 5th, 2015

In Tony Mauro’s interview of Eric Holder, the former Attorney General relays a meeting with Senator Rand Paul. According to Holder, Paul told Holder about his NSA lawsuit as the meeting concluded.

It has been interesting to see [Republican Sen.] Rand Paul at the forefront.

Yeah. He and I had lunch. It was breathtaking to see the amount of agreement that we had on this subject. As he left he said, ‘But I’m suing you.’ I said, ‘OK, fine.’ I don’t know what he’s suing me for, but he was suing me for something else.

Rand Paul has a very different account of the meeting in his memoir Taking a Stand.  According to Paul, it was Holder who brought up the topic at the outset of the meeting.

The attorney general greeted me in a conference room decorated with elaborate murals and included a portrait of Bobby Kennedy. He laughed as we shook hands. “I understand you’re suing me,” he said.

Paul also relayed this anecdote from Holder that the Administration’s view towards the NSA was not “monolithic.”

Again, I was struck by the irony, and as I left I continued to express my disbelief to Holder. “How could our first African American president condone pervasive spying on Americans?” I asked.

“Let’s just say the administration’s position on the NSA is not monolithic,” he said.

He left it at that, which only left me with more questions. Did the attorney general mean he was against the spying? If so, why was his voice falling on deaf ears? As I walked away, I had an uneasy feeling and less faith than ever in the way the administration and the NSA were carrying out their surveillance program.

Holder said Paul brought it up as the meeting was concluding. Paul said Holder brought it up as the meeting began.