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Excerpt: "Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself from overseeing the special counsel probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people close to him who added they do not believe he would approve any subpoena of President Trump as part of that investigation."

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Matt Whitaker, seen here in 2014, would become the acting attorney general. (photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Matt Whitaker, seen here in 2014, would become the acting attorney general. (photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)


ALSO SEE: Matthew Whitaker: Acting Attorney General Said Judges Should Be Christian

Acting Attorney General Said to Have No Plans to Recuse From Russia Probe

By Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky and Josh Dawsey, The Washington Post

08 November 18

 

cting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself from overseeing the special counsel probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people close to him who added they do not believe he would approve any subpoena of President Trump as part of that investigation.

Since stepping into his new role on Wednesday, Whitaker has faced questions — principally from Democrats — about whether he should recuse from the Russia investigation, given that he has written opinion pieces in the past about the investigation, and is a friend and political ally of a witness.

On Thursday, two people close to Whitaker said he has no intention of taking himself off the Russia case.

Ethics officials at the Justice Department are likely to review his past work to see if he has any financial or personal conflicts. In many instances, that office does not require a Justice Department official to recuse, but suggests a course of action. In the past, senior Justice Department officials tend to follow such advice, but they are rarely required to do so, according to officials familiar with the process.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment. Officials there have said Whitaker will follow the regular procedure in handling any ethics issues that arise.

The two people close to Whitaker also said they strongly believe he would not approve any request from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to subpoena the president. Mueller and Trump’s lawyers have negotiated for months about a possible interview, with no agreement in sight.

Whitaker’s elevation to become the nation’s top law enforcement official followed the ouster Wednesday of Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Sessions had endured months of public abuse from Trump, who soured on Sessions because he recused himself from oversight of the Russia investigation shortly after he arrived at the Justice Department.

Sessions felt that Mueller’s investigation had gone on too long, but also believed it was important that he stay in the attorney general job as a means of protecting the special counsel’s work so that, when it was concluded, the public would have confidence it had not been manipulated, according to a person familiar with his thinking.

Even after he arrived at the Justice Department, Whitaker harbored frustration about the length of the special counsel probe and doubts about the scope of Mueller’s authority, a person familiar with the matter said. He questioned Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein’s ability to give Mueller such wide latitude and wanted to explore the bounds of what Mueller was examining, though Rosenstein kept Session’s office “walled off” from the matter, this person said. Whitaker did, however, believe that Sessions had no choice but to recuse himself from the matter, the person said.

While Whitaker is now Mueller’s ultimate supervisor, it was not immediately clear whether that meant Rosenstein would step aside. Justice Department officials said that under normal circumstances, the deputy attorney general would likely play an active, hands-on role in overseeing such a high profile probe, and they had no reason to believe that Rosenstein would now be cut out.

Whitaker was virtually unknown to Sessions before becoming his chief of staff. A person familiar with the matter said he got on the White House’s radar via conservative circles in Iowa, his TV appearances and his connections with the Federalist Society and other conservative groups. When Sessions’s previous chief of staff, Jody Hunt, was departing, Sessions brought Whitaker in for an interview and came to like him, the person said. Another person said that remained true ever after Whitaker took his place.

Whitaker was a hard-charging top aide to Sessions, imposing on the Justice Department his personal philosophy of starting with the end in mind. His style rubbed many the wrong way, and at times Justice Department officials pushed back on his demands. Justice Department officials said his taking over for his boss was, at the very least, “awkward,” because chiefs of staff typically leave with the attorney general.

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+1 # hectormaria 2018-11-09 08:56
We are witnessing the revivals of Greek and Roman tragedies. In our modern Day Julius Caesar tragedy: AG Sessions to Sen. Graham: Et tu, Brute?
 
 
+1 # Robbee 2018-11-09 09:17
"Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself from overseeing the special counsel probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people close to him who added they do not believe he would approve any subpoena of President Trump as part of that investigation." - 08 November 18

- this is precisely why in 2018 the house must seize, whether by subpoena or other power, dickhead's tax returns!
 
 
+1 # hiker 2018-11-09 10:23
Of course he won't recuse himself. He was put in there to shut down the investigation and to suppress any evidence. Just watch.

And how about that picture of him. Is that a poster boy for white supremacists or what? All that's needed is a swastika armband.
 
 
+3 # tsyganka 2018-11-09 11:33
Whittaker is unqualified, but no Democrat that I know of is saying so. Wimps.

His appointment lacks the Senate's advice and consent, as he isn't on the official level (someone who reports only to the so-called president) to be AG.

He's openly hostile to the investigation, calling it "Mueller's lynch mob." He'll do everything he can to derail it for sissy trump.

He says that all judges should be christians and have a "biblical view" of so-called justice. Such would violate Article VI of the Constitution (No Religious Text Clause).

He's connected with the same gods-damned fascist organizations that have dedicated themselves to overthrowing the US government.

And just on a personal level, have you noticed how so many of these reich-wingers look the same? I call it "Republican face." I wonder if their character defects are genetic.
 
 
-2 # Anne Frank 2018-11-09 14:16
Democrats and Republicans collaborate to create a smoke screen while they destroy the rule of law. The Democrats perpetrate the Russiagate farce to prevent the idiot masses from thinking about the thermonuclear Holocaust their sugar daddies are buying with their hate-Russia campaign, and Republicans are delighted to have the distraction from their crimes against human rights abroad and economic havoc in the United States. That is why Whitaker will not shut down Mueller's circus.
 

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