House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who could be poised to retake the Speakership following the Democratic takeover of the House majority, slammed acting Attorney General…
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who could be poised to retake the Speakership following the Democratic takeover of the House majority, slammed acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, saying Thursday he is unfit for the job.
In an interview on CNN’s « Cuomo Prime Time, » the California Democrat said Whitaker’s past comments disparaging special counsel Robert Mueller ‘s Russia probe are a clear sign that he shouldn’t be overseeing the investigation, pointing out that he hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate.
“I think that he has been outspoken in saying that he wanted to curtail the Mueller investigation… This is a perilously constitutional moment, I wouldn’t say a constitutional crisis just yet… should the president go after [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein or Mueller, it would be even worse. This is a very important moment,” Pelosi said.
“The person should not be there because of the statement’s he’s made already,” she added.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have already said that Whitaker should recuse himself from overseeing Mueller’s investigation into Moscow’s election meddling and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016.
Whitaker declared Thursday he would not recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel.
President Trump appointed Whitaker as acting attorney general after dismissing Jeff Sessions Wednesday. Democrats were quick to express concern over whether Whitaker would limit or end the special counsel’s investigation, and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said he would try to force a vote on legislation protecting Mueller .
Pelosi said Sessions’s dismissal was intended to “to interfere with the Mueller investigation” and distract from Republicans’ losing the House.
Several comments Whitaker made in the past that were critical of the Mueller probe came to light following his appointment.
He wrote an op-ed for The Hill in May 2017 criticizing the idea of appointing a special counsel for the Department of Justice investigation.
“Serious, bipartisan congressional investigations into the Russian allegations have been under way for weeks and they have made progress. Hollow calls for independent prosecutors are just craven attempts to score cheap political points and serve the public in no measurable way,” he wrote.
Whitaker also wrote an op-ed for CNN last year in which he ripped Mueller’s reported inquiries into Trump’s personal finances and those of his family.
“It is time for Rosenstein, who is the acting attorney general for the purposes of this investigation, to order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel. If he doesn’t, then Mueller’s investigation will eventually start to look like a political fishing expedition. This would not only be out of character for a respected figure like Mueller, but also could be damaging to the President of the United States and his family — and by extension, to the country,” he wrote.
Pelosi said she feared that Trump and Whitaker would try to hinder the Mueller investigation and that preserving his documents is crucial should any action be taken against him.
“Our concern is that they will interfere and say that the president is above the law… We must preserve the documents, the preservation of the documents is essential,” she said.