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May 22, 2019

The man behind the curtain: Shine the light on acting attorney general Matt Whitaker

November 26, 2018
Lots of questions for Whitaker. (Charlie Neibergall / AP)

Experts make a persuasive case President Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general is unconstitutional, as it sidesteps Senate approval; the administration claims otherwise.

The courts will sort out who’s right. Meantime, the Senate must act as though it has real advise-and-consent hearings to conduct, because there are burning questions that demand answers:

As a talking head, Whitaker harshly criticized the Mueller investigation, and even floated the idea of strangling it of funds. Is he capable of overseeing it objectively or running interference for the President? (Spoiler: He’s not.) How can he not recuse himself given his close relationship with Sam Clovis, a co-chairman of the Trump campaign and key witness?

Whitaker was sole employee for an organization called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust. A delayed financial disclosure statement (which reportedly was amended five times before being released) shows he was paid some $1.2 million over two years, with FACT’s donors concealed from the public. Was it a real non-profit group or a partisan shell with tax-exempt status?

Whitaker was on the advisory board of company that paid a $25 million fine to the FTC for scamming thousands of clients. What did he know and when did he know it?

In the likely event that Senate Republicans are too shy, incoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler is champing at the bit. Go go go.

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