Securing a high post in government via television is the way of the world these days, with the reality star *resident calling the shots. The newest star in the made-by-television firmament is Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, a former U.S. Attorney turned conversative-media-pundit, and his colleagues are not happy to see him. Daily Beast:
“He’s a fucking fool,” one trial attorney inside the department said of the new AG. “He’s spent so much time trying to suck up to the president to get here. But this is a big job. It comes with many responsibilities. He just simply doesn’t have the wherewithal.”
“We’ve seen this over and over again with the Trump administration. They never vet these people,” said one former official from the department. “It shows that they don’t really have a strategy when it comes to these things and then they end up having to backtrack.”
To say that Whitaker is going to have a steep learning curve is an understatement.
But Whitaker is no longer occupying a post where he has time to learn and adjust. He now is running a department with more than 100,000 employees, a budget of roughly $30 billion, and with oversight of and input into every federal law enforcement matter in the country. Already, Whitaker has signed off on a controversial new regulation that will allow President Trump to prohibit certain immigrants from seeking asylum. The department is currently prepping for December hearings in the AT&T-Time Warner case, in which DoJ has appealed the $85 billion merger. It is also also knee-deep in its lawsuit to block California’s new net neutrality law from going into place.
He’s cut in the Trump mold. Trump saw him on television declaiming the Mueller investigation — there’s “no collusion” with Russia — which he has already decided is not valid, facts be damned. That, and his own ambition, led him to Trump, where all the shady people end up these days.
“This guy has spent his whole life trying to climb the rungs of power to get to a federal appointment,” one DOJ official said. “Now that he is here, and who knows for how long, he’s going to try and make a name for himself. And that could make things harder for us.”
Senate Democrats are considering whether to file a lawsuit to invalidate Whitaker’s appointment, by arguing that it’s an unconstitutional violation of the Senate’s advise and consent powers. If successful, the suit would force Trump to either formally nominate a replacement for Jeff Sessions or elevate, on an acting basis, someone from within the department who had already received Senate confirmation. Backtracking is what this administration does, because they leap before they look, and Whitaker’s appointment is melting down in epic time, even by Trumpian standards.