Pelosi: Whitaker’s appointment to acting AG ‘does violence to the Constitution’

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House House Republican attempts to appeal fine for bypassing metal detector outside chamber MORE (D-Calif.) ripped President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, saying in a new interview that his appointment “does violence to the Constitution.” 

"It does violence to the Constitution and the vision of our founders to appoint such a person in such a manner to be the chief legal officer in our country. And that's bipartisan," Pelosi told CBS News's Margaret Brennan in an interview set to air Sunday on “Face the Nation.” 


Trump tapped Whitaker to lead the Justice Department after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsManchin flexes muscle in 50-50 Senate Udalls: Haaland criticism motivated 'by something other than her record' Ocasio-Cortez targets Manchin over Haaland confirmation MORE announced Wednesday that he was resigning at the president's request. Whitaker had served as Sessions’s chief of staff since September of last year.

Shortly after Sessions's ouster, Trump also announced that Whitaker would oversee special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Comey argues Trump shouldn't be prosecuted after leaving Oval Office Trump turns his ire toward Cabinet members MORE had supervised Mueller's probe since Sessions recused himself last year.

Whitaker's ascension to his new role prompted immediate concern among bipartisan lawmakers regarding the fate of Mueller’s investigation. 

Whitaker has publicly touted that there was “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia and has denounced the special counsel's investigation as a "witch hunt," adopting the president's own rhetoric.

In May 2017, Whitaker penned an op-ed for The Hill criticizing the idea of appointing a special counsel for its 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. 

Pelosi and other Democrats called on Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel in light of the comments.

“Given his record of threats to undermine & weaken the Russia investigation, Matthew Whitaker should recuse himself from any involvement in Mueller’s investigation. Congress must take immediate action to protect the rule of law and integrity of the investigation. #FollowTheFacts,” she tweeted Wednesday.

Pelosi on Wednesday officially launched her bid to become Speaker, following through on her vow to seek to reclaim the Speaker’s chair after an eight-year absence.