Now that Jeff Sessions is gone, the Robert Mueller probe will effectively pass to Matthew Whitaker.
That immediately raises the following question: Can American trust Whitaker to allow the Special Counsel to conduct his business unimpeded and free from undue political pressure emanating from 1600 Penn.?
The answer would appear to be “no”, or at the very least “probably not.”
A cursory look back at public comments from Whitaker reveals that he once penned an Op-Ed for CNN called “Mueller’s investigation of Trump is going too far“.
In it, Whitaker endorsed Trump’s “red line” comments delivered in a July 2017 interview with The New York Times.
“It does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump’s finances or his family’s finances falls completely outside of the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else”, Whitaker wrote, adding that such lines of inquiry “go beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel.”
Hopefully it goes without saying that since Whitaker wrote those words more than 14 months ago, it has become abundantly clear that Trump’s finances are in fact relevant and at this point, it doesn’t really matter because investigations into the President’s business dealings are being conducted outside of the Mueller probe anyway, so if ol’ Matthew wants to shut those down, he’s probably out of luck.
In the same CNN Op-Ed, Whitaker floated the “fishing expedition” characterization of the Special Counsel probe and even went so far as to parrot Trump’s “witch hunt” line:
If [Mueller] were to continue to investigate the financial relationships without a broadened scope in his appointment, then this would raise serious concerns that the special counsel’s investigation was a mere witch hunt.
In a separate interview with CNN in July 2017, Whitaker specifically laid out a scenario where Sessions was fired and a temporary AG moved in to pull Mueller’s funding. Here’s what he said:
So I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced with a recess appointment and that attorney general doesn’t fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt.
I think what ultimately the president is going to start doing is putting pressure on Rod J. Rosenstein, who is in charge of this investigation, is acting attorney general, and really try to get Rod to maybe even cut the budget of Bob Mueller and do something a little more stage crafty than the blunt instrument of firing the attorney general and trying to replace him.
Well, nobody ever accused Trump of being particularly subtle, so Whitaker was ultimately mistaken in assuming the President wouldn’t fire Sessions “and try to replace him.” But, as “luck” would have it, Matthew is the replacement! Fancy that!
Hopefully you can see where this is headed.
We’ll leave you with a video of Matthew discussing Robert Mueller and let readers decide for themselves.