Adam Schiff says Matt Whitaker a ‘flawed appointment’
Rep. Adam Schiff of California on Sunday said Democrats will be keeping a close eye on acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, deeming him a “flawed appointment” who cannot be trusted to guide the Russia investigation.
Mr. Schiff, who is poised to become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said his panel will root out and expose any efforts Mr. Whitaker takes to curb special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into potential interference in the 2016 election. The acting attorney general has criticized the scope of the investigation in the past.
Mr. Schiff also said Mr. Trump’s decision to tap Mr. Whitaker is unconstitutional the lawyer hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate and goes around the succession statute that guides the Justice Department.
“It’s a flawed appointment,” Mr. Schiff told ABC’s This Week. “The biggest flaw from my point of view is that he was chosen for the purpose of interfering with the Mueller investigation.”
Top Democrats want Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a man they better trust to oversee the special counsel’s probe, to assume the role of acting attorney general.
They are battling to subvert Mr. Trump’s decision to go around Mr. Rosenstein and name Mr. Whitaker after demanding Jeff Sessions resignation from the post.
Mr. Sessions had recused himself from the Russia probe, infuriating Mr. Trump.
Rep. Ted Lieu, California Democrat, said Sunday it was awfully suspicious that Mr. Trump nudged aside Mr. Sessions, since the former senator from Alabama was in a “lock step” with the president on policy.
“The only thing they disagreed on was the Russian probe,” Mr. Lieu told MSNBC.
From the Republican side, Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said Mr. Whitaker appears to be ready and able to serving in an acting role, though the real issue is who should serve over the long haul.
“We need to move as quickly as we can beyond whoever’s the acting attorney general to an attorney general that’s going to be there for hopefully a much longer period of time,” Mr. Blunt told ABC.