Sessions Is Out, Whitaker Is In: What Does It All Mean?: What’s Left

Fabrizio Herrera, Maroon-News Staff

Trump’s presidency redefines the definition of normal American politics time and time again. This time, the Trump administration escalated its animosity toward the Mueller investigation by forcing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign. Immediately afterward, Trump announced that Matthew Whitaker would replace Jeff Sessions as the acting Attorney General. Trump’s replacement for Sessions should worry every single one of us.

According to CNN, Whitaker has been critical of the Mueller investigation in the past.

“If they are looking at unrelated to the 2016 election Trump finances, they have crossed the red line and they’re outside of the scope of their investigation.,” Whitaker said. “Essentially they are on a fishing expedition which is very dangerous to the republic.”

It is clear based on these comments that Whitaker is not fond of Mueller’s investigation. Even if Whitaker does not end the Mueller investigation, there is nothing preventing him from limiting the scope of it, as Republicans did in the past with the Kavanaugh investigation.

Trump’s firing of Sessions, who recused himself from investigation, came a day after the midterm elections, which is no coincidence. With Democrats gaining control of the House, they now have the ability to subpoena any of Trump’s records or tax returns, meaning there is going to be a whirlwind of investigations coming his way. Trump is preemptively defending himself by making sure the person in charge of the Mueller investigation is a loyalist.

This is the point when the legality of Whitaker’s appointment comes into question. A New York Times op-ed written by George Conway III on November 8 argues that the appointment of Whitaker is unconstitutional because the “Appointments Clause of the Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 2. [argues that] principal officers of the United States must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate under its ‘advice and consent’ powers.”

Whitaker is a principal officer because he only reports to the president. Therefore, his appointment, even if temporary, should have been confirmed by the Senate. But if his appointment is in fact unconstitutional, then every action he commits as Attorney General is invalid. Even if Whitaker goes after Mueller, his actions might be rendered useless if this legal precedent holds up. Whether this is enough for Whitaker to step down is up in the air. What we know for sure is that Trump will do whatever is in his power to limit the Mueller investigation now that the Democrats have some governmental control.

Trump’s attacks on this investigation are unacceptable, and if Whitaker goes after Mueller the result could be a constitutional crisis. Trump escalated the attacks on the investigation simply because he knows what is coming. Democrats will continue to investigate and at some point or another, something will be found. If Trump was as innocent as he claims he is, why would he fire James Comey? Why would he get mad at Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation? If Trump had any regard for the institution he represents, he would allow these investigations to continue. If he is innocent, these investigations would absolve his name of all ties to Russia or possible criminality.

Contact Fabrizio Herrera at [email protected].