The more I think about it, the more I am inclined to believe that we might be closer to a constitutional crisis than I thought originally.
Matthew Whitaker has been named acting U.S. attorney general in the wake of Donald Trump’s firing of former AG Jeff Sessions. Whittaker leap-frogged over the Justice Department’s No. 2 guy, Rod Rosenstein, who is managing the special counsel’s investigation of alleged collusion between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russian agents who attacked our electoral system in 2016.
Whitaker is a known critic of the Robert Mueller probe into alleged collusion and other matters relating to the 2016 campaign. He has spoken out against it. Rosenstein, meanwhile, has said that Mueller must be allowed to proceed unimpeded. Whitaker isn’t so, um, open-minded about that. He seems to want Mueller to call a halt to it.
So does the president.
Whitaker is under pressure now to recuse himself from the Russia probe, given his prejudicial statements against it. Whitaker says he has no intention of recusing himself, which of course is just fine with the president.
So, what will happen if Whitaker turns off the fiscal spigot that pays for Mueller’s investigation? He has stated already that the next AG could do such a thing, rather than fire Mueller outright. He is now the “next AG,” meaning that he is in a position to do what he speculated could happen if Sessions were given the boot.
Meanwhile, the president no doubt is bristling at the notion of Mueller getting closer to a conclusion that well might implicate him or members of his family in possible wrongdoing.
Matthew Whitaker should not be running the Justice Department. The president has put someone in that post who will do his bidding, which is precisely why he fired Jeff Sessions.
As distasteful as Sessions’s appointment was in the first place, he acted correctly in recusing himself. Has it dawned on anyone else that the absolute crux of Trump’s criticism of Sessions had everything to do with his recusal and nothing to do with the way DOJ was functioning?
So now the president installs a lap dog at the top of the DOJ chain of command.
Yep, I believe a constitutional crisis might be just around the corner.