The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign. There was interference by the Russians into the election, but that was not collusion with the campaign. That’s where the left seems to be combining those two issues.
That, believe it or not, is an actual quote from acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who took over for Jeff Sessions earlier this week.
Media scrutiny of Whitaker is in overdrive and for good reason. It is abundantly clear that Whitaker is at best incapable of being impartial in his newfound role as overseer of the Robert Mueller probe, and at worst, determined to undermine the probe on the way to rendering it hopelessly ineffective.
On Wednesday morning, we documented Whitaker’s long history of aversion to the Russia probe and inflammatory comments about his express desire to “indict” Hillary Clinton. Whitaker’s position was hardly difficult to ascertain. His views on both Mueller and Clinton were published as Op-Eds for The Hill, USA Today and CNN. In other words, this is a man who has made every effort over the past three years to make his position known.
Given that, it comes as absolutely no surprise that when you go digging even a little bit deeper, you find quotes like the one excerpted above from an interview with the Wilkow Majority show. As absurd as this sounds, it’s entirely possible that these comments will be scrubbed from YouTube at some point, so we went ahead and made a copy that can’t be removed. Here’s the clip from June 21, 2017:
As it turns out, it wasn’t “that simple.” In fact, it was the opposite of “simple”. It was complicated as hell, which is why the FBI needed to investigate it free from undue political pressure. Further, there was absolutely no way for Whitaker to know, when he made those statements, whether they were true or not because at the time, the Mueller probe was just three months old which means even Mueller didn’t know whether there was collusion or not at that point.
What’s even more amusing is that if you dig around a bit further, you find Whitaker contradicting himself when it comes to Russian meddling in the election. Note again what he says in the above clip:
There was interference by the Russians into the election, but that was not collusion with the campaign.
Ok, so there’s that. And here’s that very same Matthew Whitaker saying something completely different:
Which is it Whitaker?
And it gets worse – immeasurably worse. See that not-so-subtle ad for “FACT” that he uses as the background when he delivers his anti-Mueller commentary? Yeah, well here are the “facts” about FACT, via The Daily Beast:
When he became the head FACT in 2014, his media presence truly began to grow. Whitaker used that post to rack up countless talk radio hits across the country attacking Democrats. But while FACT billed itself as a nonpartisan watchdog, it served as a way to launder partisan opposition research to the public.
In 2016, according to public records, Whitaker helmed the group. The company paid $180,000 that year to America Rising LLC, an opposition research firm closely aligned with the Republican Party.
In press releases reviewed by The Daily Beast, America Rising touted FACT as a non-partisan government watchdog and highlighted Whitaker’s political commentary criticizing Democrats. A person familiar with the FACT/America Rising arrangement told The Daily Beast that on some occasions, America Rising’s opposition researchers would share material targeting Democratic candidates with FACT.
FACT would then file ethics complaints based on that research and publicly denounce the Democrats in question.
Well then, that doesn’t sound great, now does it? In fact, when considered in conjunction with all of the Op-Eds highlighted in the post linked here at the outset, it sounds like Whitaker is far more conflicted than Jeff Sessions was and should immediately recuse himself.
But he’s not going to do that. According to at least two people close to Matthew who spoke to the Washington Post, “Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself from overseeing the special-counsel probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election”, and further, isn’t likely to approve any subpoena of the President that might come down as part of that investigation.
In other words, the Department of Justice will now be run by a man who is prepared to actively involve himself in obstructing the Mueller probe he oversees, a mind-bogglingly self-referential dynamic considering obstruction is one of the crimes Mueller is investigating.
Oh, and if you’re wondering whether there are other reasons why Whitaker should recuse himself, the answer is “absolutely yes”, because he’s close friends with Sam Clovis, who was co-chair of Trump’s 2016 campaign and has himself testified before a grand jury in the Mueller probe.
In case it isn’t clear enough, Matt should go ahead and recuse right now before he ends up finding himself on the wrong end of a subpoena.