Pelosi: Acting attorney general 'should not be there'

Pelosi: Acting attorney general 'should not be there'
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House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Ginsburg successor must uphold commitment to 'equality, opportunity and justice for all' Bipartisan praise pours in after Ginsburg's death Pelosi orders Capitol flags at half-staff to honor Ginsburg MORE, who could be poised to retake the Speakership following the Democratic takeover of the House majority, slammed acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, saying Thursday he is unfit for the job. 

In an interview on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," the California Democrat said Whitaker's past comments disparaging special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) 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's Russia probe are a clear sign that he shouldn't be overseeing the investigation, pointing out that he hasn't been been confirmed by the Senate.

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“I think that he has been outspoken in saying that he wanted to curtail the Mueller investigation... This is a perilously constitutional moment, I wouldn’t say a constitutional crisis just yet… should the president go after [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein or Mueller, it would be even worse. This is a very important moment,” Pelosi said. 

“The person should not be there because of the statement’s he’s made already,” she added.

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi orders Capitol flags at half-staff to honor Ginsburg Ginsburg in statement before her death said she wished not to be replaced until next president is sworn in Democrats call for NRA Foundation to be prohibited from receiving donations from federal employees MORE (D-N.Y.) have already said that Whitaker should recuse himself from overseeing Mueller’s investigation into Moscow's election meddling and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016. 

Whitaker declared Thursday he would not recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE appointed Whitaker as acting attorney general after dismissing Jeff Sessions Wednesday. Democrats were quick to express concern over whether Whitaker would limit or end the special counsel’s investigation, and Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeRepublican former Michigan governor says he's voting for Biden Maybe they just don't like cowboys: The president is successful, some just don't like his style Bush endorsing Biden? Don't hold your breath MORE (R-Ariz.) said he would try to force a vote on legislation protecting Mueller.

Pelosi said Sessions's dismissal was intended to “to interfere with the Mueller investigation” and distract from Republicans' losing the House.

Several comments Whitaker made in the past that were critical of the Mueller probe came to light following his appointment.

He wrote an op-ed for The Hill in May 2017 criticizing the idea of appointing a special counsel for the Department of Justice investigation.

“Serious, bipartisan congressional investigations into the Russian allegations have been under way for weeks and they have made progress. Hollow calls for independent prosecutors are just craven attempts to score cheap political points and serve the public in no measurable way,” he wrote.

Whitaker also wrote an op-ed for CNN last year in which he ripped Mueller’s reported inquiries into Trump’s personal finances and those of his family.

“It is time for Rosenstein, who is the acting attorney general for the purposes of this investigation, to order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel. If he doesn't, then Mueller's investigation will eventually start to look like a political fishing expedition. This would not only be out of character for a respected figure like Mueller, but also could be damaging to the President of the United States and his family — and by extension, to the country,” he wrote.

Pelosi said she feared that Trump and Whitaker would try to hinder the Mueller investigation and that preserving his documents is crucial should any action be taken against him.

“Our concern is that they will interfere and say that the president is above the law…We must preserve the documents, the preservation of the documents is essential,” she said.