That security breach, along with the social network’s role in spreading Russian-backed propaganda during the presidential election, bolstered an argument for regulating Facebook, Mr. Holder said.
“There needs to be a certain degree of freedom,” he said. “We don’t want to stifle the creativity that comes from those platforms.”
But he added: “There is a way in which we have to think of these platforms as communication companies. What then does that mean in terms of how they should be regulated?”
Trump is given a pass on his behavior.
Mr. Holder, who served as the attorney general from February 2009 to April 2015, said he was stunned by the support Mr. Trump still enjoyed in some circles after a pornographic-film star and a former Playboy model claimed they had sexual relationships with him.
“I find it hard to believe the conversations that we have about the conduct of this president. They are mind-blowing,” he said. “I think to myself, You gave my guy grief because he wore a tan suit.”
Mr. Holder said that if the same allegations of extramarital affairs had been made against Mr. Obama or President George W. Bush, their presidencies would have been over. “I just don’t understand how this has not had the reaction generated that would have been generated by any other president,” he said.
‘American people need to know’ the full story on C.I.A. interrogations.
Mr. Trump has nominated Mike Pompeo, the director of the C.I.A., to be the next secretary of state and named a veteran of the spy agency, Gina Haspel, as the next director. Both nominations require Senate confirmation, and Ms. Haspel will certainly face questions about her work as a clandestine officer in the agency’s counterterrorism operations. She oversaw a secret prison in Thailand involved in the rendition, detention and interrogation of detainees.
In 2012, Mr. Holder effectively closed that dark chapter in the C.I.A.’s history, announcing that a three-year Justice Department investigation into brutal interrogations was ending without a prosecution. The decision outraged some liberals.
On Wednesday night, Mr. Holder said that Ms. Haspel would have to answer tough questions — and that the public deserved to know more about the country’s enhanced interrogation program. He said that parts of the Justice Department report and a separate Senate investigation into the program should be declassified.
“The American people need to know exactly what happened during that time period,” he said.
‘We have to do something’ about gun violence.
Responding to recent calls for a repeal of the Second Amendment, Mr. Holder said such an effort was impracticable but offered four suggestions to address what he called a “gun violence epidemic in the United States.” His remarks came days after John Paul Stevens, a retired associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, wrote an Op-Ed in The Times advocating repeal.
Assault weapons should be banned, as well as higher-capacity magazines, Mr. Holder said. Background checks should be expanded for prospective gun buyers, and the government should reinstate the funding of studies on gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Compare us to any other nation, and we are just off the charts when it comes to mass shootings and the number of people killed through the use of firearms,” Mr. Holder said. “We have to do something about it.”