Toobin: Acting Attorney General Whitaker is 'obscure' and 'unqualified'
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CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Thursday questioned the qualifications of President TrumpDonald John TrumpComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Congress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff MORE's pick for acting attorney general, arguing that he was chosen largely because of his past comments about special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE.

On "New Day," Toobin exchanged thoughts with former independent counsel Kenneth Starr about Trump's decision to appoint Matthew Whitaker, chief of staff to Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOn the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Trump looms as flashpoint in Alabama Senate battle Trump tweets test Attorney General Barr MORE, as head of the Justice Department on a temporary basis. Sessions resigned Wednesday as attorney general at Trump's request.

"You know the Department of Justice. You know the kind of people who are named attorney general of the United States -- senators, judges," Toobin said. "What about naming someone, frankly, this obscure and this unqualified just because he’s been critical of the Mueller investigation. What do you think about that choice?"


Starr called Toobin's characterization "a little bit unfair," while noting that Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinAttorney General Barr is in a mess — and has no one to blame but himself Graham requests interviews with DOJ, FBI officials as part of probe into Russia investigation DOJ won't charge former FBI Deputy Director McCabe MORE would have been a "natural" choice to replace Sessions.

"He’s not unqualified," Starr said of Whitaker. "Is he the most qualified? We can debate that, but he’s not been taken off the street."

Whitaker has come under scrutiny in the wake of his appointment for opinion pieces he wrote in The Hill and CNN advocating for curbing the scope of the Russia investigation, and suggesting stifling its funding.

Democrats have called on Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Sessions was effectively fired on Wednesday, submitting a resignation letter at Trump's request. His ouster followed months of public ridicule by the president, who regularly lamented Sessions's decision to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation.