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Tag: Attorney General

Acting AG Whitaker Raked in $904K from Conservative Nonprofit

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker received more than $900,000 from a conservative nonprofit that attacks Democrats on ethical grounds.

The discovery is part of the financial disclosure forms that Whitaker is required to disclose after replacing Jeff Sessions.

Whitaker served as executive director of a nonprofit called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, or FACT, from 2016 to 2017.

Whitaker also disclosed $15,000 in income from CNN, where made appearances and criticized the special counsel investigation that he may try to take over.

In addition, Whitaker received $103,400 from his own law firm and $1,875 in legal fees from the controversial, Florida-based World Patent Market, which is accused of bilking consumers out of millions of dollars.

Mueller’s Team Defends Its Authority to Investigate Russian Meddling

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team argued that the appointment of Matthew Whitaker to acting attorney general won’t affect the investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election.

Mueller’s top attorney made the assertion in response to a case filed Andrew Miller, an associate of Roger Stone, who is under investigation for his role in the leaks of Hillary Clinton emails, the Washington Post reports

Miller is challenging the constitutionality of Mueller’s authority to investigate Russia.

“The designation has no effect on the case,” Mueller’s team said of Whitaker’s new position. “The validity of the Special Counsel’s appointment” in May 2017 “cannot be retroactively affected by a change in the official who is serving as the Acting Attorney General.”

Miller’s lawsuit is aimed at blocking a grand jury subpoena from Mueller.

Mueller Expected to Issue New Indictments As New AG Weighs His Options

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue indictments as early this week as acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker weighs whether he should recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

It has been widely speculated that the next two months will be busy for Mueller after going silent during the midterm elections.

But the fate of Mueller’s investigation hangs in the balance after President Trump replaced Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Whitaker, a loyalist who has contended that the special counsel probe is illegal.

Whitaker plans to meet with Justice Department ethics officials this week about whether he should take over the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The state of Maryland took legal action Tuesday, arguing that Trump may not “bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office.” Maryland officials believe Rosenstein should have been appointed to replace Sessions as a matter of law. 

Meanwhile, it’s unclear who could be indicted by Mueller’s team after CBS reported that new inducements are expected soon. 

Among those facing potential indictments are GOP strategist and longtime Trump supporter Roger Stone and far-right commentator Jerome Corsi, who said earlier this week that Mueller’s team told him he would be indicted.

So far, Mueller’s team has indicted four people once connected to Trump’s campaign or administration, 12 Russian intelligence officers, 13 Russian nationals, three Russian companies and three other people.

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.

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.

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.

Fate of Mueller Investigation Hangs in the Balance After Sessions’ Resignation

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The forced resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday presented President Trump with his best opportunity yet to end the special counsel investigation that he has repeatedly dismissed as a “witch hunt.”

Matthew Whitaker, a Trump loyalist and harsh critic of Robert Mueller’s handling of the probe, has been tapped to replace Sessions on at least a temporary basis.

As attorney general, Whitaker could seize control of the special counsel investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who hired Mueller in April 2017 after Sessions recused himself.

Whitaker, a former college football player and U.S. attorney in Iowa, wrote in a column for CNN last year that Mueller would overstep his authority if he investigated the Trump family’s finances.

“This would raise serious concerns that the special counsel’s investigation was a mere witch hunt,” Whitaker wrote, repeating the president’s go-to conspiratorial phrase.

Whitaker has not yet responded to media questions about what he plans to do about the Mueller investigation.

“I am committed to leading a fair department with the highest ethical standards that upholds the rule of law and seeks justice for all Americans,” Whitaker said  Wednesday in a statement, calling Sessions “a man of integrity.”

Democrats wasted no time demanding that Whitaker stay away from the probe because his previous comments indicate he is far too biased to handle it fairly.

“Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement to the New York Times

If Trump’s administration interferes with the investigation, Democrats could use their new majority in the House to impeach the president. But the bold measure would almost certainly die in the Senate, which needs two-thirds of the vote to impeach.

Read Sessions’ Resignation Letter to ‘Mr. President’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

President Trump wasted no time dumping Attorney General Jeff Sessions, just one day after the midterm elections.

Sessions, a former Alabama senator, was routinely criticized by Trump for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, a decision that allowed his deputy to hire special counsel Robert Mueller to probe connections between the Kremlin and Trump’s campaign.

Here is his resignation letter, dated Wednesday.

Dear Mr. President:

At your request I am submitting my resignation.

Since the day I was honored to be sworn in as Attorney General of the United States , I came to work at the Department of Justice every day determined to do my duty and serve my country. I have done so to the best of my ability, working to support the fundamental legal processes that are the foundation of justice.

The team we assembled embraced your directive to be a law and order department of Justice. We prosecuted the largest number of violent offenders and firearms’ defendants in our country’s history. We took on transnational gangs that are bringing violence and death across our borders and protected national security. We did our part to restore immigration enforcement. We targeted the opioid epidemic by prosecuting doctors, pharmacists, and anyone else who contributes to this crisis with ne w law enforcement tools and determination. And we have seen results. After two years of rising violent crime and homicides prior to this administration, those trends have reversed—thanks to the hard work of our prosecutors and law enforcement around the country.

I am particularly grateful to the fabulous men and women in aw enforcement all over this country with whom I have served. I have had no greater honor than to work alongside them. As I have said many times, they have my thanks and I will always have their backs.

Most importantly, in my time as Attorney General we have restored and upheld the rule of law—a glorious tradition that each of us has a responsibility to safeguard. We have operated with integrity and lawfully and aggressively advanced the policy agenda of this administration.

I have been honored to serve as Attorney General and have worked to implement the law enforcement agenda based on the rule of law that formed a central part of your campaign for the Presidency.

Thank you for the opportunity, Mr. President.

Sincerely,

Jeff B. Session III

Attorney General