President Donald Trump announced that Attorney General Jeff Sessions would be replaced by Sessions’ chief of staff Matthew Whitaker who criticized Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump in a CNN op-ed back in August 2017:
Trump then placed Whitaker, the new acting attorney general, in charge of the Mueller investigation, replacing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, notes the New York Post.
Former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the FBI, Frank Figliuzzi, told MSNBC that Trump’s move appeared to violate federal law:
I think we’re watching obstruction of justice play out right in plain sight. I fear there’s a quid pro quo. That’s public corruption.
Chuck Rosenberg, the former Chief of Staff to the director of the FBI, agreed:
I think Frank is spot on. It strikes me that if you’re firing Sessions because you’re unhappy that he is not protecting you — as a Roy Cohn would — and you put in somebody who will protect you, that’s just another brick in the wall. That’s another question for Mueller to ask, another round of interviews for Mueller to conduct. I think this adds to the obstruction case, it doesn’t subtract from it.
The New York Times reported in September that Whitaker has Trump’s vote of confidence and that Whtacker was recommended by the right wing Federalist Society, which also recommended alleged sexual assaulter Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.
During a 2014 debate for the U.S. Senate seat for Iowa, then-candidate Whitaker said that he would demand federal judicial nominees be “people of faith” and “have a biblical view of justice,” noted Right Wing Watch:
As long as they have that worldview, then they’ll be a good judge. And if they have a secular worldview, where this is all we have here on earth, then I’m going to be very concerned about how they judge.