In the statement, lawyers, judges and civil servants say that are ‘disturbed’ by Trump’s choice to appoint Matt Whitaker to the role because he has not been vetted by the Senate.
They call on Trump to nominate a full attorney general to replace Jeff Sessions so that the candidate can be properly examined, and in the meantime to offer the role to the Senate-approved official who is next in line.
Matt Whitaker was appointed acting attorney general after Trump fired Jeff Sessions, but now 400 former DoJ employees have called for a proper Senate-vetted successor.
The statement says: ‘We know that overseeing the Department of Justice is one of the most important roles in our government.
‘The attorney general is responsible for ensuring that we are a nation of laws and that every citizen and every government official – including the President himself – is equally subject to those laws.
‘Because of the profound responsibilities the position entails and the independence it requires, it can only be filled by someone who has been subjected to the strictest scrutiny under the process required by the Constitution.
‘Mr. Whitaker has not been confirmed by the Senate, his qualifications to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer have not been publicly reviewed, and he has not been fully vetted for any potential conflicts of interest.’
Trump sacked Session after months of criticism for failing to protect him from the Russia probe, but because Whitaker was appointed in an ‘acting’ capacity, he has not been vetted.
After months of chastising Sessions for failing to protect him from the Russia probe into election interference, Trump finally fired his attorney general last month.
Session technically resigned, but made it clear in his letter to Trump that he was offering the resignation ‘at your request’.
He was promptly replaced by Whitaker, a Trump loyalist who has previously described the Russia probe – which he is now overseeing – as a ‘witch hunt’, echoing Trump’s own words.
But because Whitaker was appointed as acting attorney general, he has not faced Senators for the usual cross-examination before being confirmed.
The statement had 421 signatories as of Wednesday morning, but others are being asked to add their names with the list being updated twice daily
Senate Republicans hope replacing Matthew Whitaker will calm the firestorm over Trump’s attacks on the special counsel.
BURGESS EVERETT and ELIANA JOHNSON, POLITICO|AIWA! NO!|Senate Republicans are urging President Donald Trump to quickly nominate a permanent attorney general, hoping a new top law enforcement officer will blunt bipartisan concern over the future of special counsel Robert Mueller and boost the GOP ahead of tough government funding talks.
Even after Trump’s latest attack on Mueller in a flurry of tweets Thursday, most Republicans argue the president will not fire Mueller or derail his investigation because the political consequences would be too great.
But they said that naming an attorney general nominee as soon as possible — specifically one who would vow to preserve the Russia probe — would go a long way in halting legislative momentum to protect Mueller and Democratic messaging that acting attorney general Matt Whitaker will undermine the investigation.
“If we had some confidence that there is somebody nominated that would be confirmed in a reasonable period of time, to me it seems like it would relieve a lot of the controversy,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, who predicted that Whitaker, who was openly critical of the Mueller probe before Trump tapped him for the job, is “not going to be there long.”
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said Trump’s pick would have to assure lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that Mueller would be able to continue unimpeded.
“It would be helpful to start moving … so we can have that person in place as soon as possible,” Lankford said. “Whoever is going to be there would have to make clear statements about what they intend to do on the special counsel. The sooner the better. Let’s get it resolved.”
The White House is working to find a broadly acceptable pick for the job. The president’s legal team has reached out to former attorney general Bill Barr to gauge his interest in the position, according to sources familiar with the conversations. Barr, a veteran of the George H.W. Bush administration, didn’t say no, but he did tell the president’s lawyers he’d prefer they look at other options.
The Senate and House races in Florida have gone to a recount, and Stacey Abrams in Georgia is standing strong against Brian Kemp’s brazen attempts to steal the race in broad daylight. In short, the 2018 midterm elections are not over, but the Democrats fared far better than the early wisdom suggested.
|William Rivers Pitt, Truthout|AIWA! NO!|A number of late results across the country have broken for Democratic candidates. When all is said and done, they will pick up a total of between 35 and 40 House seats, representing “the biggest Democratic gain in the House since the post-Watergate election of 1974” according to The Washington Post. The Senate and House races in Florida have gone to a recount, and Stacey Abrams in Georgia is standing strong against Brian Kemp’s brazen attempts to steal the race in broad daylight. In short, the 2018 midterm elections are not over, but the Democrats fared far better than the early wisdom suggested.
This is what we’ve waited for This is it, boys, this is war The president is on the line As ninety-nine red balloons go by …
— Nena, “99 Luftballons”
There is a soul-searing symmetry to the fact that the morning after yet another man with yet another gun slaughtered yet another crowd of people in yet another all-American massacre, a mother who lost her son to gun violence and made that loss her cause of action won her election to Congress.
Six years ago, Jordan Davis was sitting in a car with friends at a Florida gas station when a man named Michael Dunn opened fire on them because he thought the music they were playing was too loud. Davis was killed in the hail of bullets. His mother, Lucy McBath, became a gun-violence activist and joined forces with the Parkland survivors after that nightmare unfolded.
McBath ran for the Georgia 6th House seat this year, and on Thursday morning, her Republican opponent Rep. Karen Handel conceded the race. “For me,” McBath told CNN back in May, “I was looking beyond my own tragedy, looking for the other tragedies that were most definitely going to happen if I didn’t keep talking about this crisis.” The victory marked the 29th House seat picked up by the Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections, further cementing their majority control of the chamber.
That is the election, in a nutshell, an amalgam of joy and sorrow. It is inspiring for what did happen and utterly galling for what might have been. Democrats handily won control of the House but lost ground in the Senate, a harrowing fact when one notes that Democratic Senate candidates collectively got 10 million more votes than their Republican opponents. Power in the Senate is further devolving to a hard-right Republican majority who only represent about 18 percent of the country. Nothing good comes from this.
Beto O’Rourke lost in heartbreaking fashion in Texas, as Andrew Gillum appeared to win Florida — although that may change. However, neither Scott Walker nor Kris Kobach will be governors come January. Voters in Oregon handily defeated an anti-choice ballot measure while voters in Alabama and West Virginia approved them. Ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid won in Idaho, Utah and Nebraska but lost in Montana. Nearly a million and a half people with felony convictions regained the right to vote in Florida, while four states passed “victims’ rights” measures that will exacerbate incarceration.
One of the most consequential outcomes of the 2018 midterms was the full-spectrum dominance of a diverse cross-section of women all across the country. “At least ninety-eight women were elected to the House on Tuesday night,” reports Margaret Talbot for The New Yorker, “eighty-four Democrats and fourteen Republicans — which means that more women will be serving in Congress than ever before.”
All this good, bad and ugly took place in the umbra of rampant national vote suppression by Republicans that begs the question: What would Tuesday’s results have been if so many millions of voters had not been deprived of the franchise in so many shamelessly rigged elections?
In Georgia, hundreds of voting machines meant for Democrat-leaning districts were left locked in a government warehouse, causing huge lines and long waits. In North Dakota, Native Americans who live on reservations were stripped of their voting rights because of a GOP-passed law requiring voters to have street addresses, which many reservation residents don’t have. The list of brazen efforts to suppress voting rights during this last election is seemingly endless and must be investigated down to the last stolen vote.
Towering over it all, however, is the change set to take place in the House of Representatives. Women, Muslims, African-Americans, war veterans, members of the Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities, young people, gun violence activists, teachers, union activists, all the people who Donald Trump disdains came together on Tuesday night to create this new truth:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Banking Committee Chairman Maxine Waters, House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler.
On January 3, 2019, those people will stand athwart a renegade White House with subpoena power in hand and the popular winds at their back. That, more than anything, explains the incredible chaos which unfolded in the immediate aftermath of one of the most consequential elections in living memory.
It began with Donald Trump giving easily the most unsettling, unhinged press conference of his tenure, and brothers and sisters, that is saying something. The peak moment came when Trump shouted down CNN reporter Jim Acosta for asking questions about the Mueller investigation. At one point, it looked for all the world like the two of them were about to come to blows.
A White House aide attempted to take Acosta’s microphone away from him during the exchange, and Acosta discovered later in the day that his White House privileges had been summarily revoked. Adding insult to injury, the White House press office fobbed off a demonstrably doctored video claiming Acosta had been violent with the microphone-grabbing aide. The ruse was promptly exposed, and a variety of national press organizations are now raising every shade of Hell on Acosta’s behalf.
Mere minutes after his press conference meltdown, Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, replacing him with confirmed lickspittleMatt Whitaker, who will now have immediate oversight control of the Mueller investigation. This despite Whittaker’s public attacks on the investigation and the fact that putting him in charge of the investigation may very well be flatly unconstitutional.
What sort of fellow is Mr. Whittaker? Esquire blogger Charles P. Pierce was able to flag some comments made by Whittaker during his 2014 run for Senate:
I have a Christian worldview. Our rights come from our Creator and they are guaranteed by the Constitution. So I would start all analysis of any law or anything else first with the Constitution and then work from there.
It is to be devoutly hoped (pun intended) that Mr. Mueller saw this storm coming and has the contents of his investigation saved on flash drives that are easy to swallow should the need arise. No, I am not kidding. The period of time between right now and January 3 may be, mark my words, the strangest and most dangerous passage this nation has crossed in decades.
Why? Because before Tuesday, Trump only suspected someone might come along with a big enough stick to do him actual damage. Now, he knows they’re coming for sure, and if Wednesday’s presser was any indication, he is not taking the new order of things in stride. Matters did not improve as the weekend, and Trump’s trip to Paris, came crashing together in yet another presidential fit of temper.
Mueller was waiting out the midterms, and Adam Schiff is measuring the drapes for his new office while sharpening his fangs with 40-grit sandpaper. Trump knows they’re coming now, and he can impede some of it, but not all of it before the building falls on him.
I could be wrong, but I believe we are about to bear witness to a scorched-earth retreat the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Boer War. I strongly suspect Donald Trump is going to try to burn everything, and everyone, to save himself from the awful grace of consequences. He can’t stop all of it, but between now and the first week of January, he’s going to try with all his might.
Sessions was only the beginning. Anyone who was hoping for a bit of quiet time after the midterms has not, frankly, been paying enough attention. Worse, what is happening now will seem tame by the new year. It definitely gets weirder from here