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Schiff: Democrats will challenge Whitaker's appointment

Schiff: Democrats will challenge Whitaker's appointment
© Greg Nash

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffCyber concerns dominate Biden-Putin summit Senate on collision course over Trump DOJ subpoenas Lawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cybersecurity during summit with Putin MORE (D-Calif.), the likely next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that Democrats will challenge the appointment of new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. 

"Yes and yes," Schiff told ABC's "This Week" when asked if Democrats would push back against Whitaker's appointment and if he is still concerned that he poses a threat to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's investigation into Russia's election meddling and alleged collusion between President TrumpDonald TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC MORE's 2016 campaign and Moscow.

"I think the appointment is unconstitutional," Schiff said, adding that Whitaker's appointment has to be subject to Senate confirmation. 

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"But it's also in conflict with a more specific statute," he said. "There's a succession statute for the Justice Department, which makes it different from other departments."

Schiff said that succession statute cannot be preempted by presidential appointment. 

"So it's a flawed appointment, but the biggest flaw from my point of view is that he was chosen for the purpose of interfering with the Mueller investigation," Schiff said, echoing claims of other Democrats.

Last year, Whitaker criticized the Mueller probe and explained how it could be undercut by strategies such as limiting its funding. 

Reports indicate that Mueller is very close to filing his final report from his investigation.

Schiff warned on Sunday that Democrats will be keeping a very close eye on Whitaker.

"He needs to know that if he takes any action to curb what Mr. Mueller does, we’ll find out about it. We’ll expose it," Schiff said.