Former Attorney General Eric Holder is reportedly mulling a challenge against President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. In the meantime, the Obama administration appointee is aiming to position himself as the leader of a legal movement to curb the Trump administration's policy agenda.
On June 19, Holder spoke out in favor of state legislation, the California Values Act, during an event in Los Angeles. The bill would attempt to block the Trump administration from compelling state law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration agents in their efforts to arrest and deport immigrants who are in the country illegally.
Holder, who lives in Washington, D.C., was the only non-Californian to speak at the event, signaling his desire to become a more visible national figure in the Democratic Party. Sources close to the former attorney general asserted that he was considering mounting a presidential campaign.
"Up to now, I have been more behind-the-scenes," Holder told Yahoo News. "But that's about to change. I have a certain status as the former attorney general ... I want to use whatever skills I have, whatever notoriety I have, to be effective in opposing things that are, at the end of the day, just bad for the country."
Holder added that he supported the California Values Act because "the federal government can't coerce states into doing something states don't want to do by threatening to withhold support."
Holder revealed that he had expected to retire from the national spotlight after the 2016 presidential election, but "it became clear relatively soon -- and certainly sooner than I expected -- that I had to get back on the field and be in effective opposition."
The former attorney general plans to increase his national profile by campaigning on behalf of Democratic candidates, collaborating with former President Barack Obama on an initiative to help Democrats recapture state legislatures before congressional redistricting in 2020.
"We were determined to do things not political," Holder told NBC News of his project with Obama, titled the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. "This was the political thing that we talked about the most."
Holder added, "Part of my job is to make redistricting sexy."
Holder is also aiming to help help create a national political action committee to coordinate legal challenges against Trump administration policies.
"As the different states and different public officials start to stand for the same things and take the same positions -- as they start to use the same tactics -- the opposition becomes that much more effective," Holder said of his formulating the PAC.
Holder did not confirm rumored presidential ambitions, but past polling indicates that the former attorney general would have to overcome negative approval ratings and a lack of name recognition if he hopes to make a dent in the Democratic primary come 2020.
In September 2014, when Holder retired from the Department of Justice, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that only 15 percent of U.S. adults viewed the attorney general positively, 32 percent viewed him negatively and that 37 percent did not know who he was.