Senators sue to block Whitaker from serving as acting AG – and accuse Trump of trying to 'subvert the Constitution to protect himself'

Senators sue to block Whitaker from serving as acting AG – and accuse Trump of trying to 'subvert the Constitution to protect himself'

Denouncing President Donald Trump's appointment of acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker—a fervent critic of the Russia probe—as a blatant effort to "subvert the Constitution to protect himself and evade accountability," three Democratic senators on Monday filed suit against the White House and demanded that Whitaker be barred from temporarily serving as the nation's top law enforcement official.


"The stakes are too high to allow the president to install an unconfirmed lackey to lead the Department of Justice—a lackey whose stated purpose, apparently, is undermining a major investigation into the president," declared Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who joined fellow Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) in filing the lawsuit.

"We want the court to make clear that the Senate must confirm Matthew Whitaker's appointment as acting attorney general—otherwise this temporary appointment violates the Constitution's Appointments Clause," Hirono added in a statement.

.@SenBlumenthal, @SenWhitehouse, and I just filed suit to challenge @realDonaldTrump's unconstitutional appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General. Donald Trump cannot subvert the Constitution to protect himself and evade accountability.

— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) November 19, 2018

As Common Dreams reported, Trump immediately selected Whitaker as acting attorney general after he fired previous Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this month.

Legal experts and progressive advocacy groups immediately raised alarm at the prospect of Whitaker overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, given that he argued in an opinion piece last year that the investigation has gone "too far."

The day after Sessions' ouster, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streetsacross the nation to highlight the "existential threat" Whitaker poses to Mueller's investigation.

While the Justice Department has predictably defended Trump's appointment of Whitaker as legal, Sen. Blumenthal argued in a statement that Whitaker must be confirmed by the Senate in order to lawfully serve as acting attorney general.

"Installing Matthew Whitaker so flagrantly defies constitutional law that any viewer of School House Rock would recognize it. Americans prize a system of checks and balances, which President Trump's dictatorial appointment betrays," Blumenthal said. "President Trump is denying senators our constitutional obligation and opportunity to do our job: scrutinizing the nomination of our nation's top law enforcement official. The reason is simple: Whitaker would never pass the advice and consent test."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close