FLASHBACK: Here’s What Acting AG Matthew Whitaker Thinks of Rosenstein and the Mueller Investigation
Acting AG Matthew Whitaker, Robert Mueller
Jeff Sessions turned in his resignation Wednesday afternoon and the President announced Matthew Whitaker will take over his position as Acting Attorney General.
Whitaker is also taking over Rosenstein’s job overseeing the Mueller witch hunt.
Matthew Whitaker is described as a “Trump loyalist” who has been privately described as the West Wing’s “eyes and ears” in the Justice Department, says the New York Times.
In August of 2017, Matthew Whitaker penned an op-ed for CNN titled, “Mueller’s Investigation of Trump is Going Too Far” wherein he argued the Special Counsel is roving outside of his jurisdiction to investigate Trump-Russia collusion:
According to a CNN article, Mueller’s investigators could be looking into financial records relating to the Trump Organization that are unrelated to the 2016 election. According to these reports, “sources described an investigation that has widened to focus on possible financial crimes, some unconnected to the 2016 election.” The piece goes on to cite law enforcement sources who say non-Russia-related leads that “involve Trump associates” are being referred to the special counsel “to encourage subjects of the investigation to cooperate.”
This information is deeply concerning to me. It does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump’s finances or his family’s finances falls completely outside of the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else. That goes beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel.
Whitaker also brought up Rosenstein’s letter appointing Mueller and argued it does not give the Special Counsel far-reaching powers beyond Trump-Russia:
In fact, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s letter appointing special counsel Robert Mueller does not give Mueller broad, far-reaching powers in this investigation. He is only authorized to investigate matters that involved any potential links to and coordination between two entities — the Trump campaign and the Russian government. People are wrongly pointing to, and taking out of context, the phrase “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” to characterize special counsel’s authority as broad.
In the penultimate paragraph and conclusion of his op-ed, Whitaker criticizes Rosenstein and says if the DAG doesn’t order Mueller to limit the scope of his probe, it will look like a “witch hunt.”
It is time for Rosenstein, who is the acting attorney general for the purposes of this investigation, to order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel.
If he doesn’t, then Mueller’s investigation will eventually start to look like a political fishing expedition. This would not only be out of character for a respected figure like Mueller, but also could be damaging to the President of the United States and his family — and by extension, to the country.
Whitaker is now in charge of overseeing the Mueller probe so it will be interesting to see what his next move is.
Rosenstein arrived to the White House Wednesday afternoon after Jeff Sessions was fired.
As of now, Rosenstein is to remain DAG, but rumors are flying he is about to turn in his resignation.