Download Report (PDF, 233 KB)

Less than twenty-four hours after Election Day 2018, President Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and tapped Sessions’s chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, to replace him as acting attorney general.

Putting aside the probable unconstitutionality of a non-Senate-confirmed appointment, Whitaker’s appointment is alarming in many ways. It quickly emerged that Whitaker believes Marbury v. Madison was wrongly decided, that the Department of Education should be disbanded, and that states can nullify federal law. But these examples proved to be only the tip of the iceberg.

Between running for office twice as a Republican, Whitaker dedicated years of his life to hyperpartisan activities. He attacked Hillary Clinton while working at a right-wing nonprofit and made a name for himself intensifying the Clinton email frenzy through op-eds and TV appearances.

Ethical concerns from Whitaker’s past also loom large. As a U.S. attorney in Iowa, Whitaker engaged in politically motivated investigations. In shady business deals at a company now under FBI investigation, he scammed veterans out of their life savings.

Most dangerous, however, is his imminent threat to the Mueller investigation, which he has frequently criticized. His criticism has included suggestions on how to suffocate, without formally terminating, the Mueller probe. He can now implement those plans.

As acting attorney general, Whitaker endangers the rule of law in this country. This report details why.