Adam Schiff vows to ‘scrutinize every single action’ by Matthew Whitaker
Incoming House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff pledged Sunday that once Democrats take over the chamber next year, they will “scrutinize every single action” by acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker.
Mr. Schiff, California Democrat, said he was particularly troubled by conversations between President Trump and Mr. Whitaker regarding special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia investigation.
“This is a real assault on the rule of law, and we’re going to scrutinize every single action by Matt Whitaker so the public knows just what he does,” Mr. Schiff told CNN’s State of the Union.
On Friday, CNN reported that Mr. Trump lashed out at his attorney general after Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime fixer, pleaded guilty to charges brought by New York prosecutors and Mr. Mueller. Mr. Cohen told the court he committed campaign finance violations “at the direction” of then-candidate Trump.
“The president of the United States is discussing a case in which he’s implicated with the attorney general. That is wrong at every level and, of course, it will taint anything this acting attorney general does,” Mr. Schiff said.
Mr. Schiff said Mr. Whitaker should have recused himself from oversight of the Mueller probe.Mr. Whitaker assumed oversight of the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was ousted.
Justice Department ethics officials had recommended Mr. Whitaker’s recusal to avoid the appearance of a conflict, but he had refused to do so.
“The ethics lawyers told him that he should not participate, should not supervise this investigation, that the public wouldn’t have confidence in his judgments, and now we learn they’re discussing the case,” Mr. Schiff said.
Earlier this month, Mr. Trump had nominated William Barr to be the next attorney general. A confirmation hearing will occur sometime in 2019.