Demonstrators gather outside Lafayette Federal courthouse

Demonstrators gather outside Lafayette Federal courthouse

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker Once Expressed Terrifying View Of Executive Power

Washington (CNN)As he was preparing to remove Jeff Sessions as attorney general, President Donald Trump had already begun reviewing with his lawyers the written answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker once argued that an American president had such broad executive power that they could order any federal investigation be stopped without obstructing justice.

After his treasury defeat, Mr. Whitaker worked in Iowa to secure the re-election of President George W. Bush. He coordinated the campaign’s efforts for the Iowa caucuses and racked up credits within the local Republican Party. He was able to parlay his campaign work into confirmation as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa in 2004, despite never prosecuting a criminal case.

Schiff: Dems interested in Sessionss testimony about ouster in next Congress | TheHill

In a 2017 interview on The David Webb Show, first reported by Mother Jones, Whitaker argued that, amid reports Trump had asked former FBI Director James Comey to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, there was no case for obstruction of justice regardless of President Donald Trumps motives because the president is entitled to make such calls with his inherent authority.

The case largely fell apart with the credibility of the government’s star witness. Former associates depicted the man, Thomas Vasquez, as a drug user, deadbeat and abuser of women. Even his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor called him a pathological liar. A jury acquitted Mr. McCoy in two hours, including time for lunch.

Matthew Whitaker appointment ignites partisan firestorm

The interview came shortly after Comey was fired by Trump and while Whitaker, then the head of a conservative nonprofit group, was a regular commentator on right-leaning media.

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There is no case for obstruction of justice because the president has all the power of the executive and delegates that to people like the FBI director and the attorney general, Whitaker argued. The president could, and has in our nations history, said stop investigating this person or please investigate this other person.

He continued: This hyperventilation of what we see here is not sustainable based on these facts.

The former New York City mayor, who ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, has known Mr. Trump for decades and currently serves as his personal lawyer. Prior to becoming mayor in 1993, Giuliani was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he led numerous prosecutions of mafia figures. 

Whitaker has already come under fire for deeply critical views of special counsel Robert Muellers probe that hed made in the past. In an interview with CNN in 2017, he argued that the inquiry could be kneecapped if the attorney general just reduces his budget so low that the investigation grinds almost to a halt. In a separate editorial for CNN, he wrote that Muellers team had already gone too close to a red-line during the scope of the probe. 

Committees of the United States Congress are conducting investigations parallel to those of the Special Counsels office, and preservation of records is critical to ensure that we are able to do our work without interference or delay,” the lawmakers wrote. “Committees will also be investigating Attorney General Sessions departure. We therefore ask that you immediately provide us with all orders, notices, and guidance regarding preservation of information related to these matters and investigations.

It is time for Rosenstein, who is the acting attorney general for the purposes of this investigation, to order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel. Whitaker wrote. If he doesnt, then Muellers investigation will eventually start to look like a political fishing expedition.

The letter was signed by ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein of California, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler of New York, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff of California, and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Elijah Cummings of Maryland.

Some prominent legal scholars have already lambasted the choice of Whitaker, including George Conway, the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway. In an op-ed for The New York Times on Thursday, George Conway argued that the appointment was unconstitutional and accused the president of seeking to evade requirements that an attorney general be confirmed by the Senate.

Its illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid, Conway wrote with former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal K. Katyal.

ROANOKE, Va. (WSET) — Protesters with Roanoke Indivisible joined hundreds of other groups around the nation to speak out and march against what they call a gross injustice. They gathered at the Elmwood Park Amphitheater.

Whitaker is legally allowed to serve as acting attorney general for no more than 210 days under the Vacancies Reform Act but could be in the post longer while another individuals nomination is pending, according to the Times.

Video: Demonstrators March Through Philadelphia In Support Of Mueller Investigation


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