Lawyers, judges and civil servants signed joint statement opposing Whitaker
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