Democrats File Lawsuit Challenging Acting AG Matthew Whitaker Appointment

Senate Democrats File Lawsuit Challenging Trump's Appointment Of Matt Whitaker

Three U.S. Democratic senators have sued to block President Donald Trump's appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, alleging the appointment was made to undermine the ongoing criminal investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign's alleged links to Russian Federation.

The lawsuit was filed in United States district court for the District of Columbia by senators Richard Blumenthal, Sheldon Whitehouse and Mazie Hirono.

The attorney general of Maryland last week brought a similar legal challenge, saying Trump violated the so-called Appointments Clause of the US Constitution because the job of attorney general is a "principal officer" who must be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

Mueller took great pains to point out that Whitaker's appointment had no legal bearing whatsoever on former Roger Stone aide Andrew Miller's challenge of his authority as special counsel.

The Justice Department legal team, led by longtime federal lawyers now working for Mueller, says Mueller was properly appointed last May by then-acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and continues to work at the discretion of Justice Department leadership.

This was the very first line of Mueller's argument: "The President's designation of Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker on November 7, 2108, has no effect on this case".

In Miller's own response to the Whitaker question, also just filed, his legal defense team agrees that nothing in his case changes with Sessions' departure and Whitaker's appointment. Whitaker in the past criticized Mueller's probe, namely its scope. A Justice Department spokeswoman recently said Whitaker "is fully committed to following all appropriate processes and procedures at the Department of Justice".

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"We are left with no choice but to seek recourse through the courts", Blumenthal also wrote in a Twitter post.

The lawsuit acknowledges that Whitaker "received Senate confirmation to serve as United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa fifteen years ago" but "resigned that position in 2009". There were bipartisan calls for Mueller to be allowed to finish unimpeded the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and any collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Kamenar's challenge to the legitimacy of the special counsel probe is based on a claim that Mueller's appointment was not handled properly.

The memo had said the attorney general was a principal officer requiring Senate confirmation, but someone who temporarily performs the attorney general's duties is not. "To suggest otherwise is to ignore centuries of practice and precedent".

The Counsel says the appointment of has no affect on its investigation, according to a brief filed with a D.C. Appeals Court today. I think he's astute politically. He's going to do what's right.

Trump has answered written questions from Mueller about his campaign's connections with Russian Federation during the run-up to the November 2016 voting, but told Wallace he "probably" won't sit for an in-person interview with Mueller's investigators.

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