Matthew Whitaker Will Face Supreme Court Challenge

acting ag matt whitaker, attorney general jeff sessions resignation, bob mueller russia probe, alexander hernandez
Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, appointed by President Trump after Jeff Sessions was forced to resign.

Matthew Whitaker Will Face Supreme Court Challenge

Matthew Whitaker, President Trump’s replacement for Jeff Sessions, will be facing the Supreme Court soon enough.

The Attorney General of Maryland, Brian Frosh has filed a lawsuit regarding the appointment of Whitaker and now attorney Thomas Goldstein who is known for his Supreme Court appearances, has also filed a lawsuit concerning the legitimacy of Whitaker’s appointment.

Of course, if Senator Mitch McConnell wasn’t busy blocking bills by his own party to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller, none of this would be necessary.

Frosh’s case is to be heard in a Maryland federal district court on Maryland December 19.

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alexander hernandez, attorney matthew whitaker, jeff ssessions matthew whitaker

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker Gets to Stay

The Justice Department has just released a legal memo approving the constitutionality of Matthew Whitaker as the Acting Attorney General.

The Justice Department released a twenty-page opinion last week that Whitaker’s appointment was constitutional under the Vacancies Reform Act.

Alexander Hernandez, Esq.
Twitter @mcatty_alex

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Republicans Don’t Want to Protect the Mueller Investigation

I can’t even begin to imagine how many times in mediation I have had opposing counsel tell me that I don’t have to include certain conditions in an agreement since the other party is going to comply. Well, I have no idea if they will or will not comply since I’m not in the psychic business, so it’s just easier to put those conditions in the agreement. But again, I get promised there will be compliance.

If the other party is going to comply, then there is no harm in putting those terms and conditions in the agreement in the first place. That’s exactly what the Republicans are doing in reference to the Mueller investigation.

On one end, Republicans keep saying there is no need to pass a bill to protect the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller because Republicans promise to protect him? How? A bi-partisan bill was introduced only to have top Republicans deny it.

On Wednesday, the Senate denied a vote on legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The expedited request came after Jeff Sessions‘ forced resignation as Attorney General and his replacement with Matthew Whitaker whose position on the Mueller investigation could not be more clear. Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona spoke out and vowed not to vote on any pending appointments for federal judges until his bill was heard.

“With the firing of the attorney general and, in my view, the improper installation of an acting attorney general, who has not been subject to confirmation by this body, the president now has this investigation in his sights, and we all know it.” Senator Flake.

Of course, here comes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocking the bill. And like always, McConnell told reporters there is “no danger” of Mueller being fired.

“I don’t think any legislation is necessary. We know how the president feels about the Mueller investigation, but he’s never said he wants to shut it down.”

On Face the Nation, Senator McConnell said “I am confident the Mueller investigation will be allowed to come to a good solid conclusion, that there’ll be no political influence put on Mr. Mueller by Mr. Whitaker to do anything other than Mr. Mueller’s job. I’m confident that Mr. Mueller will be allowed to do his job without interference.”

What’s in the bill to protect Mueller’s investigation?

  • codify Justice Department regulations to ensure a special counsel can be fired only for good cause by a Senate-confirmed official of the department, with the reason provided in writing,
  • provide the special counsel a 10-day window to seek expedited judicial review of his removal, and
  • preserve staffing, documents and other materials of the investigation while the firing is debated.

Nothing mind blowing in that bill as you can see. But, like always, Republicans say one thing to the media and the public and do another with their actions.

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Attorneys to Congress- Protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller

With the forced resignation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and his replacement Matthew Whitaker, concerns have grown over protecting Robert Mueller’s probe.

More than 1,600 attorneys and The American Constitution Society released a letter to Congress and the Justice Department to protect the Mueller probe. Actually, make that 1,600 + 1 since I just signed the letter myself.

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November 9, 2018

An Open Letter from Lawyers to Members of Congress and the American People

Nothing is more central to our democracy than the rule of law. As the Supreme Court declared over 200 years ago in Marbury v. Madison, “the government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men.” No person is above the law, including the President of the United States. The President, in fact, has the explicit constitutional obligation to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Indeed, he is bound by his oath to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution “to the best of [his] ability.”

Inspired by these principles, we, the undersigned members of the legal profession, hereby stand up in defense of the rule of law and against President Donald Trump’s outrageous attempt to undermine the investigation into possible wrongdoing involving the President’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government.

President Trump’s removal of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is clearly a maneuver to obstruct or end Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible illegal activities by his campaign. The Mueller investigation has already uncovered serious crimes committed by the President’s closest associates. Having now removed Sessions, President Trump has appointed Matthew Whitaker to serve as Acting Attorney General.

Whitaker has publicly mused about how an acting AG could defund the Mueller investigation. He has also published op-eds saying that Mueller’s investigation has gone too far and that the investigation should be limited. Whitaker has the potential to end or severely undermine the investigation in ways that could be hidden from the public.

The Special Counsel’s investigations into Russian interference in our nation’s democratic processes must be allowed to continue. They must continue even if they implicate persons or institutions connected to the President, to his campaign, or to his businesses. To allow the independence of the prosecutorial function in this nation to be sacrificed in order to protect the President endangers the very rule of law on which our nation and our Constitution are based.

We therefore demand that:

  • Acting AG Whitaker recuse himself or otherwise be removed from overseeing the Mueller investigation as a result of his profound ethical conflicts;
  • Congress hold the President accountable through oversight and pass legislation to protect the Mueller investigation; and
  • Any future Attorney General nominated by President Trump pledge to protect the Mueller investigation.

A generation ago, President Richard Nixon assaulted the rule of law by firing a prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal. But his attack on our democracy was thwarted by dedicated public servants, independent and impartial courts, aggressive bipartisan congressional oversight, and an overwhelming public outcry, led in no small part by lawyers from every branch of our profession. So must it be in our time. This is our challenge and responsibility.

Accordingly, we the undersigned attorneys pledge that we will do all that is in our power to ensure that President Trump is held accountable for his attacks on the rule of law. We will litigate, engage in peaceful protests, and take advantage of our role as community leaders to promote understanding of the rule of law and the seriousness of the current situation.  We will make our voices heard in the media, within our bar associations and other civic associations, and we will call on our representatives in Congress to speak out as well.

We will defend the rule of law from all who seek to undermine it. We call on you to join us.

If you are an attorney and wish to sign the letter, follow this link.

Alexander Hernandez, Esq.
Twitter @mcatty_alex

Comments and opinions always welcomed

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