The saga of Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker keeps getting stranger as the day goes on – but it all keeps coming back to him having no real power over Special Counsel Robert Mueller. We’re now on the third iteration of the story so far this afternoon, and let’s just say that it’s not going the way Donald Trump was hoping when he illegitimately appointed Whitaker to the position.
First came reports that the DOJ Ethics Committee had told Matt Whitaker that he did not need to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation. Palmer Report pointed out that this wasn’t really a big deal one way or the other, because it would still be a felony if Whitaker messed with Mueller, so this was still going to come down to whether Whitaker wanted to risk going to prison to help Trump.
Then the Washington Post reported that the DOJ had advised Whitaker to recuse himself, but he refused to. Palmer Report explained that this was probably Whitaker trying to split the difference between not outraging Trump, and not getting in legal trouble. Now comes the part that matters, which is good news for Mueller, and bad news for Trump.
Nicolle Wallace of MSNBC is now reporting that a Department of Justice official has informed her that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and not Matthew Whitaker, will continue to oversee Robert Mueller going forward. This means that, even though Whitaker isn’t officially recusing himself, he’s clearly not involved in any of this. Mueller is going to keep doing what he’s doing, Rosenstein is going to keep greenlighting him, Whitaker is going to hide in the bathroom, and Trump is going to whine about it all.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report