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More than 400 ex-DOJ officials sign letter protesting Whitaker

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More than 400 former officials and attorneys from the Department of Justice (DOJ) have signed a letter opposing acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and calling for him to be replaced, saying that they are “disturbed” by his appointment.

The DOJ alumni, who say they have worked in several past administrations under presidents from both parties, note in the open letter that Whitaker hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate and that he hasn’t been “fully vetted” for potential conflicts of interests.

“The Attorney General is responsible for ensuring that we are a nation of laws and that every citizen and every government official — including the President himself — is equally subject to those laws,” the letter reads.{mosads}

“Because of the profound responsibilities the position entails and the independence it requires, it can only be filled by someone who has been subjected to the strictest scrutiny under the process required by the Constitution,” it adds.

Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan government watchdog group, was involved in organizing the letter, which was posted on Medium.

Whitaker, who was appointed by President Trump last month after Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s ouster, has come under scrutiny for his past criticisms of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has long attacked Mueller and blasted the investigation as a “witch hunt,” while Democrats and some Republicans have pushed for legislation to protect the special counsel probe from being shut down.

Whitaker, previously Sessions’s chief of staff, has also faced questions for reportedly receiving more than $1 million from a conservative nonprofit between 2014 and 2017, with the source of that funding unclear.

The DOJ alumni in their letter also called on Trump to replace Whitaker “with the Senate-confirmed official who is next in the line of succession by operation of federal law.”

The Senate confirmed Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general last year.

“We likewise call on the Senate to insist that its Constitutional prerogative to provide advice and consent be respected,” the letter adds.

Tags Donald Trump Jeff Sessions Robert Mueller Rod Rosenstein

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