Democrats Sue to Challenge Attorney General Appointment

Elias Hubbard
November 20, 2018

Three Democratic senators filed a lawsuit on Monday accusing Donald Trump of illegally appointing Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, saying the president violated the US Constitution and denied the Senate its right to approve the nomination.

"We want the court to make clear that the Senate must confirm Matthew Whitaker's appointment as Acting Attorney General-otherwise this temporary appointment violates the Constitution's Appointments Clause", she wrote. The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel issued a 20-page opinion last week arguing that Whitaker's appointment was legitimate, while conceding that the last time that the acting attorney general wasn't Senate-confirmed was in 1866, before the creation of the DOJ.

In an interview with Fox News that aired Sunday, Trump said he was unaware of Whitaker's CNN commentary opposing the Mueller investigation before naming him to head the Justice Department, bypassing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whom Sessions had delegated to oversee the Mueller investigation.

This was the very first line of Mueller's argument: "The President's designation of Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker on November 7, 2108, has no effect on this case". PEN American Center also filed a lawsuit challenging Whitaker's appointment.

In his first television interview since the midterm elections, President Donald Trump mounted an aggressive defense of his pick for acting attorney general and repeated some of his favorite misleading attacks against the Russian Federation investigation.

While the Justice Department has predictably defended Trump's appointment of Whitaker as legal, Sen. Whitaker's elevation to acting attorney general has allowed him to assume oversight of the probe.

Special counsel Robert Mueller said in court filings Monday that the recent leadership shake-up at the Justice Department had not changed anything in the legal fight over his authority.

"The biggest flaw, from my point of view, is that he was chosen for the goal of interfering with the Mueller investigation", Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the soon-to-be chair of the House Intelligence Committee when the new Congress is sworn in in January, said Sunday on ABC's This Week.

Over the past year, Whitaker has repeatedly criticized Mueller's investigation, at one point even suggesting how a new attorney general could choke off funding to Mueller's office.

The Counsel says the appointment of has no affect on its investigation, according to a brief filed with a D.C. Appeals Court today.

Stone, who was a longtime informal political adviser to Trump, once described Miller as his "wingman" because he helped manage Stone's schedule, travel and media appearances, and also provided "some I.T. work". He's a very smart person. "I really believe he's going to do what's right".

Trump has answered written questions from Mueller about his campaign's connections with Russian Federation during the run-up to the November 2016 voting, but told Wallace he "probably" won't sit for an in-person interview with Mueller's investigators.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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