Swalwell: Whitaker hired to 'kill' Russia probe

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) argues that President Trump's new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker was brought on because of his views of the Russia investigation.

Posted: Nov 13, 2018 4:22 PM
Updated: Nov 13, 2018 4:51 PM

The Justice Department is expected to issue an opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel on Tuesday that will defend Matthew Whitaker's appointment as acting attorney general under federal law, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Almost immediately after President Donald Trump appointed Whitaker last week, various high-profile lawyers, professors and former Justice officials have weighed in on the legality of the move and more formal legal challenges are widely expected soon.

Some legal scholars -- as well as George Conway, the husband of Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway -- have said they thought Whitaker's appointment is unconstitutional because he is not a Senate-confirmed official. Yet others have argued that the appointment is valid because he's only serving on a temporary basis under the Federal Vacancies Act.

OLC serves as the chief interpreter of federal law for the administration, but its conclusions are not binding on federal courts, and Tuesday's opinion is unlikely to abate the brewing controversy over Whitaker's appointment.

Top Democrats on Capitol Hill have slammed Trump's decision to appoint Whitaker as acting attorney general, skipping over Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein -- the next Justice official in the succession line who is Senate-confirmed and was previously overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. While Rosenstein is still managing the probe on a day-to-day basis, Whitaker's critics have worried that he could take steps to curtail Mueller's work given his past fierce criticism of the probe.

Others have demanded that Whitaker recuse himself from oversight of the investigation.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told CNN Monday that Whitaker will follow all ethics rules.

"Acting AG Whitaker is fully committed to following all appropriate processes and procedures at the Department of Justice, including consulting with senior ethics officials on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal," Kupec told CNN.

The department declined to get into specifics on whether he has initiated that review. As of last week, CNN reported that had not yet happened, and Whitaker has given no indication he believes he needs to step aside.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93556

Reported Deaths: 2810
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6974155
DeSoto541155
Harrison373272
Jackson338867
Madison320886
Rankin319075
Lee260667
Jones242078
Forrest239070
Washington217971
Lafayette208439
Lauderdale1999124
Bolivar179465
Oktibbeha175050
Lamar163134
Neshoba1536103
Panola144027
Sunflower141744
Lowndes139957
Warren138150
Leflore136980
Pontotoc123416
Pike121248
Monroe118865
Scott116425
Copiah116233
Coahoma112327
Holmes109258
Marshall107615
Lincoln106753
Grenada106135
Yazoo103829
Simpson101143
Union97824
Tate95137
Leake93937
Adams91936
Wayne87721
Pearl River86550
Marion84133
Prentiss81117
Covington80522
Alcorn77311
Itawamba76221
Newton75723
Tallahatchie75418
George74913
Winston72419
Tishomingo65837
Chickasaw65524
Tippah64216
Attala64125
Walthall59325
Clay57817
Hancock56121
Jasper55415
Noxubee54315
Clarke53539
Smith52314
Calhoun50612
Tunica47913
Montgomery45520
Claiborne45216
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41714
Perry40718
Quitman3745
Humphreys37315
Stone35511
Greene34517
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32511
Carroll31212
Amite31110
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2429
Benton2191
Franklin1893
Choctaw1795
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131405

Reported Deaths: 2292
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19015337
Mobile13066289
Montgomery8674173
Madison758375
Tuscaloosa7240114
Lee571359
Shelby568450
Baldwin506149
Marshall383543
Etowah335547
Calhoun333839
Morgan319726
Houston270822
Elmore254947
DeKalb235519
St. Clair223435
Walker222680
Talladega206926
Limestone199519
Cullman184517
Dallas174826
Franklin174328
Russell17132
Autauga169024
Lauderdale164633
Colbert160626
Escambia156225
Blount155114
Jackson150611
Chilton148527
Dale133043
Covington130927
Coffee12778
Pike11559
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113042
Clarke104917
Marion94228
Butler90938
Barbour8357
Winston70912
Marengo69919
Lowndes64827
Pickens63514
Bibb63210
Hale61528
Randolph60812
Bullock58714
Lawrence58520
Monroe5758
Geneva5724
Cherokee56516
Washington54613
Clay5427
Perry5376
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52311
Crenshaw52331
Macon47720
Henry4724
Fayette4219
Sumter41819
Lamar3462
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3236
Greene30015
Coosa1643
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