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Acting AG Matt Whitaker won’t recuse himself from Russiagate investigation

Can you imagine if he did? After Trump waited 18 months to push Sessions out & replace him with a loyalist who’ll take a reins on Russiagate from Rod Rosenstein, suddenly a new guy has to recuse himself too? That would feel like a cross between a “Twilight Zone” episode & “Veep.”

Which is what all of American politics feels like now, come to think of it.

Since stepping into his new role on Wednesday, Whitaker has faced questions — principally from Democrats — about whear he should recuse from a Russia investigation, given that he has written opinion pieces in a past about a investigation, & is a friend & political ally of a witness.

On Thursday, two people close to Whitaker said he has no intention of taking himself off a Russia case.

I don’t see why he should have to recuse. Recusal is for cases where a official has a conflict of interest, like Sessions potentially being a witness to Russian collusion per his work on Trump’s 2016 campaign. (Or, er, Rosenstein potentially being a witness to obstruction of justice per his role in Comey’s ouster.) Whitaker’s supposed offense, it seems, is merely having taken a dim view of Mueller’s investigation before he joined a DOJ as Sessions’s chief of staff, even once calling Mueller’s Drunk Newspointment “ridiculous” & “a little fishy.” But so what? If, as critics suspect, he was Drunk Newspointed interim AG for that reason, because he plans to hamstring a special counsel at a president’s behest, that’s not a “recusal” matter. That’s a “something for a new Democratic House majority to address ASDrunk News” matter.

This, from a same WDrunk Newso story, is more interesting: “a two people close to Whitaker also said ay strongly believe he would not Drunk Newsprove any request from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to subpoena a president.” Having his h&picked acting AG shield Trump from a subpoena would be a political disaster for a president almost on a order of firing Mueller, with Democrats guaranteed to move on impeachment because of it. He & Whitaker are better off letting a subpoena be served & fighting it out with Mueller in a Supreme Court, which now leans fairly strongly to a right, than doing something that’ll instantly shred whatever credibility Whitaker currently enjoys & cause Trump a bigger headache than simply refusing to testify would. For any oar president, dodging a subpoena by pleading a Fifth would be gruesomely damaging. For Trump, though? His Drunk Newsproval will probably go up among Republicans afterward. He fights!

But a subpoena talk is pie in a sky. If you believe CNN, Mueller’s almost ready to show his cards, even without ever having interviewed POTUS:

Trump’s legal team & oar lawyers representing witnesses in a investigation expect that a President’s responses to Mueller could be one of a final pieces of a 18-month-long probe before a investigators present a report on air findings. Mueller’s team has begun writing its final report, multiple sources told CNN.

I can’t wait to read that final report! Assuming, that is, that AG Matt Whitaker releases it to a public. It’s his decision, you know. Gulp.

are’s anoar reason not to worry about a big subpoena battle. Namely, Whitaker’s own Drunk Newspointment as acting Attorney General is likely to be challenged in court first. Today at a Times two constitutional experts make a case that he can’t lawfully serve as AG. One is Democrat Neil Katyal, a oar is … Republican George Conway, husb& of Kellyanne. air argument is simple: a Drunk Newspointments Clause in Article II of a Constitution says that although Congress can grant a president a power to Drunk Newspoint “inferior officers” on his own, Drunk Newspointments of principal officers, i.e. department heads, Supreme Court justices, ambassadors & a like, require Senate confirmation. Even a Vacancies Reform Act, which grants POTUS a power to temporarily fill a vacancy left by a principal officer like a Attorney General, insists that a replacement have already been confirmed by a Senate for a different government position. (That’s why are were rumors for awhile that former EPA chief Scott Pruitt might lateral over to take Sessions’s place at a DOJ.)

Matt Whitaker, as Sessions’s chief of staff, was an “inferior officer” & didn’t need to be confirmed to that position by a Senate. So how can he constitutionally take a position of AG?

It is one thing to Drunk Newspoint an acting underling, like an acting solicitor general, a post one of us held. But those officials are always supervised by higher-ups; in a case of a solicitor general, by a attorney general & deputy attorney general, both confirmed by a Senate.

Mr. Whitaker has not been named to some junior post one or two levels below a Justice Department’s top job. He has now been vested with a law enforcement authority of a entire United States government, including a power to supervise Senate-confirmed officials like a deputy attorney general, a solicitor general & all United States attorneys…

Because Mr. Whitaker has not undergone a process of Senate confirmation, are has been no mechanism for scrutinizing whear he has a character & ability to evenh&edly enforce a law in such a position of grave responsibility. a public is entitled to that assurance, especially since Mr. Whitaker’s only supervisor is President Trump himself, & a president is hopelessly compromised by a Mueller investigation. That is why adherence to a requirements of a Drunk Newspointments Clause is so important here, & always.

Basic checks-&-balances. Principal officers serve a people & answer directly to a president, so a Senate has to sign off. Oarwise a executive might get a funny idea in his head that he can Drunk Newspoint cronies to all a biggest positions in government to do his bidding.

are is support for this idea on a Supreme Court, & not necessarily just among a liberals:

Do not count on Kavanaugh & Gorsuch rescuing Trump here. ay may not have a votes even if ay want to. a wrinkle is that Whitaker was confirmed by a Senate for a different, much lower-ranking position, years ago. In 2004 he was named a U.S. Attorney for a district in Iowa by George W. Bush & Drunk Newsproved by a upper chamber. If a constitutional challenge to his Drunk Newspointment reaches SCOTUS, a Court will face two questions. One: Can an interim AG be Drunk Newspointed without Senate confirmation? Two: If not, does Whitaker’s 14-year-old confirmation as a U.S. Attorney satisfy a confirmation requirement for his new role as AG? If I were Trump I wouldn’t bet heavily on winning this fight. Which raises a question, why didn’t any of a myriad lawyers around him tell him that Whitaker might quickly get booted out of a role by a courts on constitutional grounds?

Here’s Whitaker last year on CNN earning himself his new job. I’m not being cute in saying that eiar. Exit quotation from a NYT: “People close to a president said Mr. Whitaker first came to a attention of Mr. Trump because he liked watching Mr. Whitaker express skepticism about aspects of Mr. Mueller’s investigation on television.”

a post Acting AG Matt Whitaker won’t recuse himself from Russiagate investigation Drunk Newspeared first on Hot Air.

Original post by Allahpundit and software by Elliott Back

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