Senate Democrats sue over Trump's Whitaker appointment

Lester Mason
Ноября 19, 2018

Three Senate Democrats filed a lawsuit today arguing that Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker's appointment is unconstitutional and asking a federal judge to remove him.

Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island filed the suit on November 19, arguing that Whitaker's appointment violates the Constitution because he hasn't yet been confirmed by the Senate.

All three senators sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee and are arguing that Whitaker's appointment violates the Constitution's Appointment Clause "advice and consent" role.

Whitaker's appointment sparked outrage from Democrats due to the acting attorney general's previous comments criticizing special council Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump campaign's involvement. The attorney in that case, Thomas Goldstein, asked the high court to find that Whitaker's appointment is unconstitutional and replace him with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

Whitaker took over supervision of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 USA election after Trump appointed him on November 7 as the chief USA law enforcement official to replace Jeff Sessions, who the president removed.

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Responding to a petition to the Supreme Court to declare Whitaker's appointment illegal, department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said it is consistent with laws governing presidential appointments of top-level officials and 'comports with. actions of U.S. presidents, both Republican and Democrat'.

"President Trump's brazen attempt to flout the law and constitution in bypassing Deputy US Attorney General Rosenstein in favor of a partisan and unqualified staffer can not stand", Maryland state Attorney General Brian Frosh said. The move comes after the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel released a legal opinion defending the appointment.

"Installing Matthew Whitaker so flagrantly defies constitutional law that any viewer of School House Rock would recognize it. Americans prize a system of checks and balances, which President Trump's dictatorial appointment betrays", Blumenthal said. The opinion concluded that Whitaker, even without Senate confirmation, may serve in an acting capacity because he has been at the department for more than a year at a "sufficiently senior pay level".

"We are left with no choice but to seek recourse through the courts", Blumenthal also wrote in a Twitter post. A hearing on Maryland's legal challenge is slated for December 19.

Many analysts believe Whitaker was chosen to protect Trump from the Russian Federation collusion investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who will now be under Whitaker's control. "To suggest otherwise is to ignore centuries of practice and precedent".

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