Curt Johnson / Flickr Donald Trump goes on Russia Twitter...
Curt Johnson / Flickr

Mathew Whitaker is Trump’s hired henchman.

Whitaker’s CNN Op-Ed, in part:

Last month, when President Donald Trump was asked by The New York Times if special counsel Robert Mueller would be crossing a line if he started investigating the finances of Trump and his family, the President said, “I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.”


The President is absolutely correct. Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russia 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing.

According to a CNN article, Mueller’s investigators could be looking into financial records relating to the Trump Organization that are unrelated to the 2016 election. According to these reports, “sources described an investigation that has widened to focus on possible financial crimes, some unconnected to the 2016 election.” The piece goes on to cite law enforcement sources who say non-Russia-related leads that “involve Trump associates” are being referred to the special counsel “to encourage subjects of the investigation to cooperate.”


This information is deeply concerning to me. It does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump’s finances or his family’s finances falls completely outside of the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else. That goes beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s letter appointing special counsel Robert Mueller does not give Mueller broad, far-reaching powers in this investigation. He is only authorized to investigate matters that involved any potential links to and coordination between two entities — the Trump campaign and the Russian government. People are wrongly pointing to, and taking out of context, the phrase “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” to characterize special counsel’s authority as broad.

Washington Post:

“I think what ultimately the president is going to start doing is putting pressure on Rod J. Rosenstein, who is in charge of this investigation, is acting attorney general, and really try to get Rod to maybe even cut the budget of Bob Mueller and do something a little more stage crafty than the blunt instrument of firing the attorney general and trying to replace him,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker’s comments to CNN were first flagged by a group called Law Works.

The question from there is whether this is just something Whitaker thought Trump and a new attorney general might do, or whether it’s something he would advocate for and do. (A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.) Whitaker doesn’t explicitly say he would prefer this outcome, but it’s not difficult to see how Trump might see those comments and view Whitaker as a strong candidate to do his bidding.

“Strong candidate to do his bidding.” Gotta hand it to the Post, they have a gift for understatement.

Two thoughts: One, Mueller did take in quite a haul with seizing Paul Manafort’s assets, so he probably has a cushion, at least for a while; Two, if we have to, we do a GoFundMe. We could raise millions.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.



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