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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.

Cases: 143879

Reported Deaths: 3676
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto956999
Hinds9541193
Harrison6825105
Jackson6068116
Rankin523796
Lee480294
Madison4602102
Forrest367185
Jones344687
Lauderdale3343142
Lafayette313347
Washington3088106
Lamar281849
Bolivar237883
Oktibbeha237760
Lowndes228362
Neshoba2171113
Panola211047
Marshall207247
Leflore200789
Pontotoc193227
Monroe189577
Sunflower189554
Lincoln183964
Warren172157
Tate163349
Union160125
Pike160058
Copiah158840
Yazoo150638
Scott149929
Coahoma147342
Itawamba145533
Alcorn143724
Simpson143553
Pearl River142967
Prentiss139526
Grenada136344
Adams135948
Leake131643
Holmes124461
George121623
Tippah120930
Covington117234
Winston115824
Wayne115722
Hancock114137
Marion110746
Attala106233
Tishomingo106042
Newton102829
Chickasaw102332
Tallahatchie94727
Clarke88253
Clay86726
Jasper81121
Walthall74328
Stone72314
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71213
Carroll70514
Lawrence69914
Noxubee69017
Smith68616
Yalobusha67926
Perry65225
Tunica59519
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54117
Humphreys52518
Amite50814
Benton48217
Quitman4786
Webster41614
Kemper40815
Wilkinson38422
Jefferson34011
Franklin3185
Sharkey30617
Choctaw3057
Issaquena1114
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 234080

Reported Deaths: 3459
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30620491
Mobile19306358
Tuscaloosa12501148
Madison12410146
Montgomery12040232
Shelby980576
Baldwin826984
Lee753964
Morgan618247
Calhoun5997113
Etowah590564
Marshall581953
Houston507038
DeKalb463535
Cullman412636
Limestone404544
St. Clair398455
Elmore393961
Lauderdale382953
Walker349096
Talladega335942
Colbert296341
Jackson291924
Blount276336
Autauga263439
Franklin244833
Coffee233415
Dale226654
Dallas220231
Russell21803
Chilton216937
Covington212533
Escambia194431
Tallapoosa169290
Chambers168048
Pike155514
Clarke155419
Marion134535
Winston123723
Lawrence122436
Geneva11748
Marengo116924
Barbour116110
Pickens115318
Bibb114217
Butler113741
Randolph99821
Cherokee98924
Hale91631
Washington90018
Clay89423
Fayette84416
Henry8426
Lowndes78729
Monroe76811
Cleburne74414
Crenshaw70330
Macon70020
Bullock69019
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Lamar6267
Wilcox62418
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene40217
Coosa3074
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