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State of Maryland Challenges Whitaker’s Appointment as AG

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s appointment of a loyalist, Matthew Whitaker, to replace ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions is facing a court challenge.

The state of Maryland plans to ask a federal judge Tuesday to declare that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should be the acting attorney general, not Whitaker, as a matter of law, the New York Times reports. 

In a draft filing, the state says Trump may not “bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office.”

The request by Maryland is part of a lawsuit in which the state sued Sessions in his official capacity. Ellen L. Hollander, a 2010 Obama appointee to the Federal District Court for the District of Maryland, must identify Sessions’ successor as a defendant in the litigation.

A lot is at stake. The supervision of Robert Mueller as special counsel investigating Russia and Trump’s campaign and administration belongs to the head of the Justice Department, which is the acting attorney general.

Whitaker has long criticized Mueller’s position as illegal. Rosenstein, on the other hand, appointed Mueller in April 2017 to investigate Russia and the role Trump’s campaign played in election meddling.


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Trump Expected to Give the Boot to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

By now appointees of President Donald Trump have learned to keep an updated resume within arm’s reach. So, many get fired.

The latest, who appears to be headed for a firing is Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the Washington Post reports. The firing could happen in coming weeks or sooner, the paper reports.

Trump is apparently unhappy with her performance on immigration enforcement.

 


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Acting AG Whitaker Has Ties to Company under FBI Investigation

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has ties to a Florida company that is under an FBI investigation for allegedly scamming customers out of $26 million, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Whitaker, whom Trump appointed to replace Jeff Sessions last week, was a paid advisory board member of World Patent Marketing.

The FBI’s Miami office and U.S. Postal Inspection Service shut down the company last year after the Federal Trade Commission accused it of “scamming customers out of $26 million.”

The company is accused of charging customers “thousands of dollars to patent and promote their inventions” while providing “almost no real service.”

People who complained were reportedly threatened.

Whitaker, who was paid $9,375 to serve on the advisory board, reportedly threatened unhappy customers with “serious civil and criminal consequences,” according to documents.


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Democratic-Controlled House to Probe Trump’s New AG Matt Whitaker

Rep. Jerry Nadler

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

With Democrats now controlling the House of Representatives, President Trump’s pick for interim attorney general, Matt Whitaker, is likely to face tough scrutiny in the form of hearings.

Rep.  Jerry Nadler, the presumed chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Whitaker will be summoned early next year as part of the ongoing Russia investigation.

“Our very first witness after January 3, we will summon, if necessary subpoena, Mr. Whitaker,” Nadler told CNN.  

“The very first thing, obviously, is to protect the Mueller investigation,” Nadler said. “The president’s dismissal of Attorney General Sessions and his appointment of Whitaker, who’s a complete political lackey, is a real threat to the integrity of that investigation.” 

The president last week forced the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him Whitaker, a loyalist and critic of the special counsel investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

“He’s totally unqualified, and his only qualification seems to be that the President wants him to be the hatchet man to destroy the Mueller investigation,” Nadler said.


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SNL Takes a Shot at the Fired Jeff Sessions and President Trump

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Saturday Night Live has taken plenty shots at Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

On Saturday night, the show weighed in once again, this time on his firing.


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Weekend Series on Law Enforcement History: Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre


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Kelly Conway’s Husband: Hiring Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is Unconstitutional

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It might not come as a shock that some attorneys would conclude that the appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is unconstitutional.

But it’s certainly a bigger deal when one of those lawyers speaking up is the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.

In an opinion piece in the New York Times, husband George T. Conway III, along with attorney Neal K. Katyal, write:

It means that Mr. Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.

Much of the commentary about Mr. Whitaker’s appointment has focused on all sorts of technical points about the Vacancies Reform Act and Justice Department succession statutes. But the flaw in the appointment of Mr. Whitaker, who was Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff at the Justice Department, runs much deeper. It defies one of the explicit checks and balances set out in the Constitution, a provision designed to protect us all against the centralization of government power.

If you don’t believe us, then take it from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whom Mr. Trump once called his “favorite” sitting justice. Last year, the Supreme Court examined the question of whether the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board had been lawfully appointed to his job without Senate confirmation. The Supreme Court held the appointment invalid on a statutory ground.


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Ex-West Wing Official: I’m Worried About Donald Trump Jr. Getting Indicted

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The rumblings involving the Robert Mueller  probe declined quite a bit before the Nov. 6 election.

Now, they’re revving up again.

Gabriel Sherman writes in Vanity Fair that some folks are concerned Donald Trump Jr. may have perjured himself with investigators when he said he never told his father in advance of the infamous June 16 Trump Tower meeting to gather dirt on Hillary Clinton.

“I’m very worried about Don Jr.,” a former West Wing official who testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, tells Sherman. .


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