Published: Tue, November 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Democratic senators sue over Whitaker's appointment as AG

Democratic senators sue over Whitaker's appointment as AG

It appears Mueller is filing this in an attempt to head off any attempt by Miller or his lawyer to use the Whitaker appointment against Mueller in appellate court.

The ascension of Matthew Whitaker to acting attorney general "neither alters the Special Counsel's authority to represent the United States nor raises any jurisdictional issue", the Mueller team said in the filing.

Rosenstein, who had appointed Mueller in May 2017 and signed off on the office of special counsel's work since then, still manages the investigation day to day even though ultimate oversight now rests with Whitaker.

The White House and the Justice Department both argue that the appointment was legal.

"As all three branches of government have long recognized, the President may designate an acting official to perform the duties of a vacant principal office, including a Cabinet office, even when the acting official has not been confirmed by the Senate", the opinion stated. "The reason is simple: Whitaker would never pass the advice and consent test.In selecting a so-called "constitutional nobody" and thwarting every senator's constitutional duty, Trump leaves us no choice but to seek recourse through the courts".

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.

Trump dismissed concerns about how Whitaker will deal with the Mueller investigation, but said that he, as president, would not intervene.

Normally Rosenstein, who has gone through Senate confirmation, would have been made acting attorney general until a new nominee could be vetted.

In a statement Monday, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said it was based on "centuries of practice and precedent" and "comports with... actions of U.S. presidents, both Republican and Democrat".

The case, originally captioned Michaels v. Sessions, is a constitutional challenge to the federal ban on gun possession by convicted felons. "He's a very smart person, a very respected person", Trump said. With this new suit, those same questions about executive power will be heard in a federal court room.

It was the third lawsuit challenging Whitaker's appointment in one week.

Sessions was recused from the Russian Federation probe, leaving Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, in charge of the investigation.

Three days earlier, the state of Maryland asked a federal judge to block Whitaker from acting on behalf of the department in an ongoing court case on health care policy, likewise arguing that he had not been Senate-approved.

'President Trump's brazen attempt to flout the law and constitution in bypassing Deputy US Attorney General Rosenstein in favor of a partisan and unqualified staffer can not stand, ' Maryland state Attorney General Brian Frosh said.

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