Following Jeff Sessions’ resignation as attorney general on Wednesday, President Donald Trump has asked Sessions’ chief of staff Matt Whitaker to assume the role as acting AG.
President Trump openly criticized Sessions on Twitter repeatedly. A great deal of that criticism came from Sessions’ decision to recuse himself at the onset of the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Whitaker, assuming the role of attorney general, will now be in charge of overseeing the investigation at its final stages.
“It is a true honor that the president has confidence in my ability to lead the Department of Justice as acting attorney general. I am committed to leading a fair department with the highest ethical standards, that upholds the rule of law, and seeks justice for all Americans,” Whitaker said.
One of the starkest differences between Sessions and Whitaker is that Whitaker has repeatedly criticized the Mueller investigation and has announced that he would not recuse himself as Sessions did.
While Democrats were quick to remind Americans of their Russian collusion narrative, Whitaker’s role of overseeing the Mueller investigation is minimal. The fact that he will not recuse himself after the investigation is over should not have any major implications on the thoroughness and accuracy of the investigation.
According to reports, Mueller and his team have finished the investigatory phase of their job, and have now moved on to drafting their report. Some analysts have predicted that Mueller will have a final report by Christmas.
Whitaker is not expected to obstruct any part of the drafting phase. If he does, he could face repercussions from Congress. This should not be a priority talking point for Democrats.