A Trump lapdog cannot oversee Robert Mueller's investigation
Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday. He replaced Sessions with Matt Whitaker, a Trump stooge who is publicly opposed to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which reports indicate he will now supervise.1,2
Constitutional scholars from across the political spectrum have affirmed that Trump's actions are unconstitutional and more than 100,000 people mobilized on Thursday to protect Mueller.3,4
But Republican members of Congress, who actually have the power to protect the Trump-Russia investigation from Trump's obstruction, are refusing to act. We have to keep up the pressure and demand that Congress act now to protect the integrity of Mueller's investigation and preserve its findings before Trump and Whitaker sabotage the investigation.
Tell Congress: Pass legislation to protect the special counsel investigation.
Trump's demand that Sessions resign was unsurprising, but his decision to install Whitaker in his place is a direct attack on the rule of law and our democracy. Whitaker complained that Mueller's investigation might hurt Trump and his family's reputations, defended the Trump Tower meeting with Russians, derided Mueller's investigation as a “witch hunt,” proposed slashing Mueller’s budget in order to sabotage the investigation, suggested that Rosenstein should interfere with the scope of the investigation, retweeted an op-ed on the “Mueller Lynch Mob,” suggested hiding the Mueller evidence from the public, complained about aggressive tactics, opposed legislation to protect the special counsel from White House interference and chaired the 2014 political campaign of Sam Clovis, a grand jury witness in the investigation.5,6 He made it perfectly clear that he will undermine or completely destroy Mueller's work.
Mueller's investigation produced indictments or guilty pleas from 32 people, including four former Trump advisers.7 Last week, reports emerged that White House officials were concerned that Mueller was on the verge of indicting Donald Trump Jr.8 That's why Trump wants his stooge to step-in.
In April, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation to protect Mueller from being fired without just cause.9 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to bring it to the floor for a vote, hiding behind the excuse that he didn't think Trump would try to fire Mueller.10 But McConnell is playing games. Trump reportedly already tried to fire Mueller in 2017 and only backed down when White House staff threatened to quit.11 And now that Trump crossed the line and installed his lapdog to oversee the investigation, every member of Congress must be forced to go on the record about whether they want to defend democracy or roll over for Trump.
Demand that Congress immediately put a check on Trump and protect the integrity of the Mueller investigation.
Thanks for everything you do.
- Kevin Breuninger, "Trump's new Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has criticized the Mueller probe, will now oversee it," CNBC, Nov. 7, 2018.
- Darren Samuelsohn and Caitlin Oprysko, "Sessions ousted," POLITICO, Nov. 7, 2018.
- Neal Katyal and George Conway, "Trump’s Appointment of the Acting Attorney General Is Unconstitutional," The New York Times, Nov. 8, 2018.
- Jen Kirby, "'Protect Mueller' protests pop up across the country," Vox, Nov. 9, 2018.
- Matthew Whitaker, "Mueller's investigation of Trump is going too far," CNN, Nov. 7, 2018.
- Ken Dilanian, "Tweet," Nov. 7, 2018.
- Andrew Prokop, "All of Robert Mueller’s indictments and plea deals in the Russia investigation so far," Vox, Oct. 10, 2018.
- Jonathan Chait, "Donald Trump Jr. Expecting to Be Indicted by Mueller Soon," Intelligencer, Nov. 7, 2018.
- Brian Murphy, "These Republicans co-wrote a bill to protect Mueller. Now they won’t push for it," The News & Observer, Aug. 22, 2018.
- Lauren Gambino, "McConnell says he will not allow vote on bill protecting Mueller from firing," The Guardian, April 17, 2018.
- Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, "Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit," The New York Times, Jan. 25, 2018.
photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images