'This Week' Transcript: Holder and Giuliani

HOLDER: He has a personal belief that the president is supposed to be hands off with his Justice Department, and those things that are the province of the attorney general, all he needs to be is informed.


TAPPER: This doesn't seem to be the case any longer. Are you disappointed that the White House seems to be politicizing the decisions you make about the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

HOLDER: I don't think the decision has been politicized at all. This is a national security matter, and I think it's appropriate for the president to be involved in that decision. We are working to see exactly where the trial will be held. Nothing is really off the table at this point. We are trying to come up with a place where these people can be brought to justice as quickly as we can, taking into consideration a variety of things that we have to consider. And I think in that regard, the involvement of the president, given the fact that it is a national security matter, as opposed to something else the Justice Department might be doing, his involvement I think is appropriate.

TAPPER: You've said we're a nation of cowards because we don't talk freely and openly about race. So in that spirit, let me give it a shot. Do you think the Arizona immigration law is racist?

HOLDER: Well, I don't think it's necessarily a good idea. I mean, I think we have to understand that the immigration problem that we have, illegal immigration problem that we have, is a national one, and a state-by-state solution to it is not the way in which we ought to go.

TAPPER: But your issue with it is not that it's state-by-state. Your issue with it is that there are concerns that there might be racial profiling that takes place, right?

HOLDER: That is certainly one of the concerns that you have, that you'll end up in a situation where people are racially profiled, and that could lead to a wedge drawn between certain communities and law enforcement, which leads to the problem of people in those communities not willing to interact with people in law enforcement, not willing to share information, not willing to be witnesses where law enforcement needs them. I think you have to think about the collateral consequences of such a law, understanding the frustration that people feel in Arizona. IT's one of the reasons why I think we have to have a national solution to this immigration problem.

TAPPER: Do you think it's racist?

HOLDER: I don't think it's racist in its motivation. But I think the concern I have is how it will be perceived and how it perhaps could be enacted, how it could be carried out. I think we could potentially get on a slippery slope where people will be picked on because of how they look as opposed to what they have done, and that is I think something that we have to try to avoid at all costs.

TAPPER: The oil company BP has a spotty record when it comes to cutting corners and, in some cases, worker safety. Are you looking into the oil spill in the gulf, possible criminal charges, and ways to make sure that these companies -- not just BP, but Halliburton and the others -- are held accountable?

HOLDER: Well, our primary concern at this point is to try to make sure that we keep that oil offshore, that we disperse it, that we scoop it up, that we burn it, that we do all those kinds of things so that it can't get to shore and do damage to our wetlands, damage businesses that are on the coast.

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