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Sunday chatter: Drama for the Justice Department

The era of discord between the branches of government continues. Last week President Barack Obama took open aim at the U.S. Supreme Court for its campaign finance ruling – and Justice Samuel Alito returned fire with a grimace, a head shake and a “not true.” Now members of the executive and legislative branches spent Sunday morning taking aim at each other.

Members of Senate blasted the Justice Department over decisions the department has made in two high-profile terrorism trials.

Sen. Lamar Alexander

Sen. Lamar Alexander took to the Sunday morning talk show airwaves to call for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder for allowing suspected underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to be given a Miranda warning.

Abdulmutallab after speaking for almost an hour, was sedated to receive medical treatment. When he awoke, he no longer wanted to talk, and was then Mirandized. The Los Angeles Times reports that a number of other agencies – the FBI, State Department and CIA – authorized the Miranda warning.

Alexander said Holder needs to explain himself to lawmakers/

“(Holder’s) doing a better job of interrogating CIA employees than he is of interrogating terrorists, and he’s not making a distinction between enemy combatants and terrorists flying into Detroit trying to blow up planes and American citizens who are committing a crime,” Alexander said on “Fox News Sunday,” reports The Hill. “He needs to go to Congress and say I made that decision, and here’s why. And based on that perhaps he should step down.”

White House advisor Davd Axelrod

Meanwhile, the Justice Department is still facing head from Republicans on the Hill for the decision to hold the Sept. 11 terror attack trial in a lower Manhattan civilian court – and now the Obama administration is considering changing the venue after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressed concern about the costs and security issues of holding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s trial in lower Manhattan. Bloomberg had initially supported the decision.

No decision has been made on where the trial may be held, but White House officials shot back at GOP lawmakers who criticized the administration for not trying the case in a military tribunal. David Axelrod, the senior adviser to President Obama, pointed out on “Meet the Press” that suspects including “shoe bomber” Richard Reid were tried in civilian courts under President George W. Bush.

“Now we have a Democratic president and suddenly we hear these protests,” Axelrod said. “What has changed between now and then that would cause people to reverse positions?”

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