On Wednesday, shortly after news broke that Jeff Sessions had resigned at the “request” of Donald Trump, we noted the obvious, which is that acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker might not be reliable when it comes to safeguarding the integrity of the Special Counsel probe because after all, Whitaker has a long history of criticizing the investigation.
Specifically, Whitaker penned a 2017 Op-Ed calling for the Mueller investigation to be reined in. In that Op-Ed, Whitaker suggested the investigation was a “fishing expedition” and, yes, a “witch hunt.”
Just a couple of weeks prior to penning that piece, Matthew actually detailed, on national television, how the DoJ might go about cutting funding for the probe to a level “so low that [Mueller’s] investigation grinds to almost a halt.”
This is yet another case of Donald Trump resorting to a strategy so transparently nefarious that one wonders if the President is actually trying to make the optics as bad as possible.
And look, this isn’t us exaggerating or otherwise demonstrating that we’re not inclined to give the guy a chance. Whitaker’s history with this issue is highly dubious. In May of 2017, he wrote an Op-Ed for The Hill called “Comey served faithfully, but the president made the right decision“. Here’s an excerpt from that piece:
Comey’s announcement last July that he would not recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton for violations of the Espionage Act were a shock to many in law enforcement both inside the FBI and out. Immediately prior to that surprise announcement he held court before the media laying out what seemed to be the rationale for bringing such a case forward.
Then his pronouncement that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring such a case was just wrong, and I said so publicly at the time. I was a federal prosecutor for five years and was proud to serve in the Department of Justice, and I would’ve brought that case.
If you’re wondering whether that means Whitaker would be inclined to “lock her up” (as it were), the answer is “yes.” In July of 2016, he wrote an Op-Ed for USA Today called – and I kid you not – “I would indict Hillary Clinton.”
As you’re undoubtedly aware, Donald Trump has spent the better part of two years demanding that Jeff Sessions do just that – indict Hillary Clinton.
In June of 2017, Whitaker told WMAL radio that Trump did not obstruct justice by firing James Comey. “There is no criminal obstruction of justice charge to be had here”, he said.
At one point – and this is true – Whitaker actually told CNN that Donald Trump Jr. made the right decision to attend the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians. “You would always take the meeting” he said, adding that “you certainly want to have any advantage you can.” He would quickly qualify that as follows: “… any legal advantage you can.”
And then there was this, from August 6, 2017:
Just so we’re all on the same page here, that is the acting Attorney General, advising, on Twitter no less, that the President “not cooperate” with Robert Mueller’s “lynch mob.”
Somehow, America is supposed to believe that a guy who literally wrote an Op-Ed called “I would indict Hillary Clinton” and who thinks Mueller is running a “lynch mob” will be an even-handed Attorney General for a president who wants to “lock up” Hillary Clinton and who thinks the Special Counsel probe is a “witch hunt”.
I would ask Trump voters the same thing I’ve been asking for a year: How naive are you?