House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D’Alesandro PelosiCollins reiterates call for legislation to protect Mueller investigation Swalwell offers his ‘thought’ and ‘prayer’ in wake of California shooting Dem strategist says ‘a lot is up in the air’ with House leadership fight MORE (D-Calif.) ripped President TrumpDonald John TrumpEx-White House counsel interviewed Whitaker about joining Trump’s legal team: report Flake slams Trump for doubting Arizona vote count: No evidence of ‘electoral corruption’ Comey talked about sensitive FBI matters on personal email: report MORE’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, saying in a new interview that his appointment “does violence to the Constitution.”
“It does violence to the Constitution and the vision of our founders to appoint such a person in such a manner to be the chief legal officer in our country. And that’s bipartisan,” Pelosi told CBS News’s Margaret Brennan in an interview set to air Sunday on “Face the Nation.”
Trump tapped Whitaker to lead the Justice Department after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsEx-White House counsel interviewed Whitaker about joining Trump’s legal team: report Flake: Whitaker shouldn’t oversee Mueller probe FBI investigating Florida company Trump’s acting AG was involved in: report MORE announced Wednesday that he was resigning at the president’s request. Whitaker had served as Sessions’s chief of staff since September of last year.
Shortly after Sessions’s ouster, Trump also announced that Whitaker would oversee special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE‘s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinFlake: Whitaker shouldn’t oversee Mueller probe Rosenstein calls Whitaker ‘superb’ choice for acting AG: report Collins reiterates call for legislation to protect Mueller investigation MORE had supervised Mueller’s probe since Sessions recused himself last year.
Whitaker’s ascension to his new role prompted immediate concern among bipartisan lawmakers regarding the fate of Mueller’s investigation.
Whitaker has publicly touted that there was “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia and has denounced the special counsel’s investigation as a “witch hunt,” adopting the president’s own rhetoric.
In May 2017, Whitaker penned an op-ed for The Hill criticizing the idea of appointing a special counsel for its 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.
Pelosi and other Democrats called on Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel in light of the comments.
“Given his record of threats to undermine & weaken the Russia investigation, Matthew Whitaker should recuse himself from any involvement in Mueller’s investigation. Congress must take immediate action to protect the rule of law and integrity of the investigation. #FollowTheFacts,” she tweeted Wednesday.
Pelosi on Wednesday officially launched her bid to become Speaker, following through on her vow to seek to reclaim the Speaker’s chair after an eight-year absence.