The Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion Wednesday supporting President Trump’s appointment of Matt Whitaker as acting attorney general, despite criticism from Democrats who have questioned his qualifications to oversee the Russia investigation.
In its opinion, the Office of Legal Counsel said that the president’s appointment of Whitaker to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was consistent with the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (VRA) of 1998.
“This Office previously had advised that the President could designate a senior Department of Justice Official, such as Mr. Whitaker as Acting Attorney General,” the OLC said, noting that Whitaker has been serving at the Justice Department “at a sufficiently senior pay level for over a year.”
But a senior Justice Department official said this week that when reviewing Whitaker’s appointment, the OLC had to research back to 1866 to find a similar instance where a non-Senate confirmed individual sat as acting attorney general. The Justice Department wasn’t created until 1870, though an attorney general existed prior to that. – READ MORE