In a move that supports President Trump, the U.S. Justice Department, Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), has released a lengthy memo [pdf available here] outlining the legal support for the interim appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General.
(Via Wall Street Journal) […] The Justice Department’s opinion is aimed at critics who say Mr. Whitaker’s installation is an invalid run around the Constitution’s requirement that the Senate provide “advice and consent” for senior executive-branch nominations. It comes a day after the state of Maryland asked a federal judge to block Mr. Whitaker from serving, arguing that job should fall to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
A judge Wednesday set a hearing on that argument for Dec. 19.
The Justice Department’s opinion is likely to further the debate that has surrounded Mr. Whitaker since President Trump named him to replace Jeff Sessions, whom the president ousted last week. Even before Mr. Sessions’ resignation, the department’s Office of Legal Counsel had advised the White House that Mr. Trump could lawfully name Mr. Whitaker as his successor, a senior department official said Wednesday.
“It is no doubt true that presidents often choose acting principal officers from among Senate-confirmed officers. But the Constitution doesn’t mandate that choice,” the head of the office, Steven A. Engel, wrote in Wednesday’s opinion, addressed to White House layer Emmet Flood. “Consistent with our prior opinion and with centuries of historical practice and precedents, we advised that the president’s designation of Mr. Whitaker as acting attorney general on a temporary basis” didn’t warrant Senate confirmation. (link to WSJ)
The larger, seemingly overlooked question, is why? Why did President Trump choose to follow the advice of his White House lawyers, and appoint Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General, instead of allowing Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein to elevate to the position of AG in the interim period?
There is speculation Matthew Whitaker is the preferred acting AG because he is more likely to support a pre-planned objective cleaning out a set of corrupt internal officials within the DOJ and FBI; this would be the “cleaner” supposition.
Hopefully this is the case; there are reasonable signs of evidence pointing in this direction. However, given the history of how Machievellian the administrative state has been in defending corrupt institutions – it would be naive to think the career embeds within the DOJ and FBI, and their external alliance (Lawfare), don’t have a counter-punch in their scheming arsenal.
We live in an era of consequential, and unfortunately unnerving, times. Those within the previous administration who shredded the constitution in favor of weaponized power for political purposes, are emboldened amid a landscape where the majority media support their usurpation.
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.”
“For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”