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Eric Holder hired to help California Legislature deal with Trump

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week that the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and four other Guantanamo detainees accused in the 2001 attacks will be tried in federal court in New York.
File photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been hired by the California Legislature to advise them in their “efforts to resist any attempts to roll back the progress California has made.”

The California Legislature has hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as outside legal counsel to help navigate any potential conflicts with the incoming Trump administration.

In a joint statement Wednesday, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon wrote they had retained the law firm of Covington & Burling, which Holder heads, and that the team will advise legislators in their “efforts to resist any attempts to roll back the progress California has made.”

The lawmakers cited a desire to protect the economy and, in particular, the state’s progressive policies on climate change, health care, civil rights and immigration.

“With the upcoming change in administrations, we expect that there will be extraordinary challenges for California in the uncertain times ahead,” Rendon and de León wrote.

Holder was the nation’s first black attorney general and a close friend of outgoing President Barack Obama. His tenure included work on criminal justice reform, civil rights and community-police relations. Obama asked him to personally look into the investigation following the 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

“I am honored that the legislature chose Covington to serve as its legal advisor as it considers how to respond to potential changes in federal law that could impact California’s residents and policy priorities,” Holder said in a statement. “I am confident that our expertise across a wide array of federal legal and regulatory issues will be a great resource to the legislature.”

Take Two will be speaking with Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School, about the hire.

Correction: An earlier version of this story did not give the full name of the law firm retained by the California Legislature. It is Covington & Burling LLP. KPCC regrets the error.