Supreme Court Receives DOJ Motion To Substitute That Has Trump Fuming

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Donald Trump has taken unprecedented actions to control Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the alleged collusion between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russian government operatives. Some of those actions have included firing FBI Director James Comey over “this Trump/Russia thing,” berating his own first appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and working to discredit investigators involved in the case on social media.

The man who was overseeing that investigation, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, has suffered no less of a fate. Accusations by the GOP of unethical and dishonest behavior are endlessly invented and Trump supporters are fully convinced of his guilt.

Since Trump bypassed the deputy attorney general in order to appoint a man unconfirmed by the Senate, Matthew Whitaker, who has made numerous statements about his preconceived judgments on the Mueller case, one attorney, Tom Goldstein, has filed a motion with the Supreme Court to oust him and instate Rosenstein in his place.

CNN reporter Jessica Schneider reports:

‘Goldstein’s motion was filed in connection with a gun rights case that is before the Supreme Court as a petition for a writ of certiorari, meaning the nine Justices will meet in conference at a date still to be determined to decide whether to hear it. The case is Barry Michaels v. Whitaker, which was automatically renamed from Michaels v. Sessions following Whitaker’s appointment.’

Numerous controversies surround Whitaker, who Trump once said he knew but then denied he knew him in statements made to the press after his appointment. Most importantly, Whitaker has made statements that Mueller’s investigation is unwarranted and that no collusion has been found. That has yet to be confirmed and Whitaker could not have known the evidence in the case when he made those statements.

Goldstein says that the case will help to build the lost confidence the American people once had in the Justice Department no matter what the Supreme Court decides.

‘Even if this Court now determines that the President in fact validly appointed Mr. Whitaker as Acting Attorney General, that ruling would equally benefit the administration of justice by removing the cloud of uncertainty over the appointment and by resolving the burgeoning number of challenges to it.’

Goldstein is not alone in his call for a hearing by the Supreme Court. The state of Maryland has filed a motion to have Whitaker’s appointment reviewed.

‘Similar motions challenging Whitaker’s appointment have been filed in other cases, including by the state of Maryland in its Affordable Care Act lawsuit, and by a private attorney in Missouri representing a client charged with wire fraud.’

The case is not one with any prior legal precedent on which to draw. No other president has attempted to install an attorney general who has not been confirmed by the Senate for that particular position, although he was as a federal prosecutor in 2004 at the state level in Iowa.

‘The motion contends that Whitaker’s appointment violates federal law and the Constitution. It argues that the Constitution’s Appointments Clause mandates that all principal officers, including the attorney general, must be Senate confirmed, and that the Trump administration should have followed the Attorney General Succession Act when naming Sessions’ replacement.’

Trump has defended his appointment by using his favorite “whataboutism” approach, saying that Mueller was also not confirmed by the Senate, although there is no constitutional requirement for a special counsel to be confirmed. Mueller has, however, been confirmed by the Senate, including his confirmation to become the FBI director.

Featured image via Flickr by Office of Public Affairs under a Creative Commons license

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