Acting AG could hold office through June but possibly wouldn’t last

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker can hold office through June under the law President Trump used to appoint him, but he probably won’t last that long.

“I think this will be a very interim AG,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said of the replacement for Jeff Sessions, who resigned on Wednesday after months of criticism from the president.

Whitaker, a Republican Party loyalist and Sessions’ chief of staff, has faced pressure from Democrats to step aside from overseeing the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, because he criticized the investigation before joining the Justice Department last year.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the appointment “does violence to the Constitution” and has called on Whitaker to recuse himself from Mueller’s investigation.

Some legal scholars have argued Whitaker’s appointment violates the constitutional requirement that the Senate confirm top officials like the attorney general, but others say the law he was appointed under — which allows for a 210-day term — permits temporary posts.

Whitaker has stayed out of the public debate. He sent a department-wide note after his appointment in which he said, “As we move forward, 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.”

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