WASHINGTON (CNN) - During his confirmation hearing Thursday, Attorney General designate Eric Holder conceded that he "made mistakes" during the Marc Rich pardon incident that were "not typical" of his conduct over the bulk of his career.
Holder said he "made assumptions that turned out not to be true" during the Rich pardon process, which turned out to be the "most intense" and "searing" experience he "ever had as a lawyer."
Holder said that he learned from the Rich pardon incident and will "be a better attorney general" as a result.
One of the lessons of the Rich case, Holder said, was the need for "full consultation with all lawyers in the pardon process." Holder said there was a need to improve the pardon process, which seems to experience a "deterioration... at the end of every administration."
Holder, in response to a question from Sen. Arlen Specter, said he did not recommend that former Clinton White House counsel Jack Quinn, who served as Rich's lawyer during the pardon process, circumvent the Justice Department and go "straight to the White House" with the pardon application.
Holder admitted he made a mistake by being inadequately informed about Rich's criminal background.