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Last week, Jeff Sessions resigned as attorney general.

He left the Department of Justice (DoJ) on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.

Asking Sessions to resign was President Trump’s first action after the mid-terms on November 6.

Finally!

Now, maybe, justice can be done!

The acting attorney general (AG) was formerly Sessions’s chief of staff. His name is Matt Whitaker.

Trump was clever and did not promote Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, to the post. Because Sessions had recused himself, Rosey had been overseeing the Mueller probe. Now that Whitaker has been given the responsibility of overseeing Mueller, the Left — Democrats and the media — have said that the United States is experiencing a ‘constitutional crisis’.

Fox News’s Howard Kurtz explains why (emphases mine):

Whitaker is a former prosecutor, as well as a conservative activist, but he is obscure. He is a Trump loyalist, once described as the president’s “eyes and ears” at DOJ.

What’s more, as a CNN contributor and at other times, he has trashed the Mueller investigation that he will now be overseeing. He’s suggesting that Justice could curtail the special counsel’s probe by cutting his funding.

“The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign,” Whitaker once said. As for the left, “the last thing they want right now is for the truth to come out, and for the fact that there’s not a single piece of evidence that demonstrates that the Trump campaign had any illegal or any improper relationships with the Russians. It’s that simple.”

So Whitaker has, to put it mildly, a rather dim view of the investigation. And his associates are telling reporters he has no intention of recusing himself. Of course not — that’s why Trump wants him.

So it’s a big deal that oversight of the Russia probe is moving from Rosenstein, who likes the job Mueller is doing, to a man who’s been so critical of the investigation. And criticism from House Democrats who’ll soon be in a position to scrutinize these matters is fueling the story.

Rumour has it that Robert Mueller might be wrapping up his investigation soon, possibly next week. If true, whether that is related to Sessions’s resignation is unclear.

As acting AG, Whitaker can stay in that position for up to 210 days. Whitaker was appointed to his former chief of staff role in 2017, therefore, he requires no Senate confirmation.

Whitaker quickly protected his Twitter account, which was all about sports, although you can see a photo of him lifting weights. He’s no pencil-necked geek. He’s a big man with a shaved head (similar to Mr Clean). One of Whitaker’s tweets featured a similar photo with the caption:

What I do in my free time. #powerclean #CrossFit…

VA Online News has an interesting article about Whitaker and how he got the AAG job. The article purports that White House aides thought Rod Rosenstein’s resignation was imminent, so they went about finding a replacement:

Convinced that the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, was ready to resign after the revelation that he suggested President Trump was unfit for the job, senior White House aides got to work last weekend installing a replacement.

Whitaker received a phone call on Saturday, November 3:

Matthew G. Whitaker, the chief of staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, would become the acting No. 2 official at the Justice Department, his White House counterpart, John F. Kelly, told him over the phone on Saturday morning, according to two people briefed on the call. To the White House, he was an obvious choice: a confident former college football player and United States attorney whom Mr. Kelly has privately described as the West Wing’s “eyes and ears” in a department the president has long considered at war with him.

By Monday, Rosenstein had decided to stay at the DoJ for the time being, therefore, Whitaker could not be moved into his slot.

Interestingly, had Whitaker become DAG, replacing Rosenstein, he would not have been able to supervise the Mueller probe:

thanks to complex department rules, Mr. Whitaker would not assume control of the inquiry if he ever replaces Mr. Rosenstein.

Some think that Whitaker could become the permanent AG if he performs well as AAG. Even if he doesn’t, there are other roles open to him:

Administration officials have also mentioned Mr. Whitaker as a possible successor to Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel who plans to leave in the fall.

Justice Department and White House spokespeople declined to comment. The back-and-forth between the White House and Justice Department were described by more than a half-dozen administration officials and others briefed on the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal conversations.

President Trump is said to have an easy rapport with Whitaker, who disapproves of Mueller potentially probing the Trump family finances.

In 2016, he was critical of Hillary Clinton’s server situation:

A reasonable prosecutor may ask, if on numerous occasions, an unknown State Department employee had taken top secret information from a secured system, emailed that information on a Gmail account, and stored the information on a personal server for years, would that individual be prosecuted? I believe they would.

Eighteen US AGs have demanded that Whitaker recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe. On Friday, November 9, Fox News reported:

More than a dozen U.S. state attorneys general signed a document Thursday calling for Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation, a role he assumed following his temporary appointment following the resignation of Jeff Sessions …

As part of Whitaker’s new role as the head official at the Justice Department, he will oversee the Russia probe and the agency’s other federal investigations, including the New York prosecutors’ look into the finances of Trump and his former aides.

In an op-ed Whitaker wrote last year, he argued that “any investigation into President Trump’s finances or the finances of his family would require Mueller to return to Rod Rosenstein for additional authority under Mueller’s appointment as special counsel.”

“It is time for Rosenstein … to order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel,” Whitaker wrote. “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.”

And separately, in July 2017, Whitaker told CNN, “I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced with a recess appointment, and that attorney general doesn’t fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt.”

Whitaker is adamant about refusing to recuse.

The Left — Democrats and the media — are in a right tizz at the moment.

Whitaker’s DoJ could look at all types of left-wing scandals from the past several years.

He could get a lot done in 210 days, especially as he has the little-known but brilliant Ezra Cohen-Watnick, 32, working at the DoJ. Cohen-Watnick formerly worked for HR McMaster, who fired him from the National Security Council. Trump fired McMaster earlier this year.

Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner think highly of Cohen-Watnick, who has an intelligence background. In April 2018, Trump personally told the DoJ he wanted Cohen-Watnick to work with Jeff Sessions. That did not sit well with the Left, either, because it was rumoured he had shown Rep. Devin Nunes classified documents relating to Nunes’s FISA investigation of the 2016 election.

With Whitaker and Cohen-Watnick working together, who knows what the near future might hold? We could well see some sunlight disinfecting the Swamp. 

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