The Senate shouldn’t be sleeping on Whitaker’s unconstitutional appointment

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER NEWS)

 

The Senate shouldn’t be sleeping on Whitaker’s unconstitutional appointment

The resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his replacement with “acting Attorney General” Matthew Whitaker has proven quite controversial since it was announced. Big-name, right-of-center constitutional experts — including, it appears, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas by a backdoor route — have opined that it is straight-up unconstitutional.

It is a conclusion that’s hard to disregard on its merits. But the failure of the administration to respect the “advice and consent” clause of the Constitution is not the only reason why the Senate should be pushing back, and hard, on the acting attorney general situation.

There’s a far more straightforward reason: The appointment of Whitaker is a blatant power grab, and no senator worth his salt should be willing to give up his power over the staffing of the administration.

[Read more: Maryland challenges Whitaker’s appointment as acting AG]

That is especially so if the politician in question is named Mitch McConnell.

The Republican Senate majority leader from Kentucky regards himself as being “in the personnel business.” What McConnell means by that is that the most important impact he and his colleagues can have in government is getting people they like confirmed to high office, where they can make legally bulletproof decisions that will shape the future of this country for decades to come.

The area where this is most evident, pertinent, and with the longest-term consequence is in the judiciary. But Senate-confirmable administration posts count as well — not only those confirmed or blocked, but also those thwarted or prevented behind the scenes.

Why, then, would McConnell — let alone his other 99 colleagues — allow their power to be grabbed in such an overt and easily stopped manner by any president? Why not demand that if President Trump wants Whitaker, he put him forward as a nominee for attorney general? And if he does not want Whitaker, why not demand he name his preferred successor to Sessions right now, so the Senate can get on with the constitutionally mandated confirmation process?

The reality is, Trump should have had a nominee’s name ready to announce the second news broke of Sessions’ resignation. It’s not like he hasn’t had time to think about it. Rumors that Sessions would exit after the midterm elections have been swirling D.C. for months now. Trump has wanted him gone for much longer than that.

But it is simply unacceptable that the Senate would not be forcing the president to get on with it now. Every day he delays is an erosion of the Senate’s power and reason for existence.

Under former President Barack Obama, we saw a consistent erosion of the notion that administrations need to adhere to constitutional law.

That was actually the problem at issue in the case that George Conway, Kellyanne Conway’s husband, and former Solicitor General Neal Katyal cited in their op-ed last week dubbing the “acting attorney general” situation unconstitutional.

And Thomas, Trump’s “favorite justice,” considered what the Obama administration did with National Labor Relations Board appointments to be not merely unlawful but unconstitutional — and he was right.

Trump can and should do better than Obama did in this regard. But so should McConnell, if he really is in the personnel business. The majority leader should not tolerate this unconstitutional power grab, which overtly and directly hurts him and his caucus.

Liz Mair is president of Mair Strategies and strategist to the Swamp Accountability Project.

Whitaker backlash prompts concern at the White House

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Whitaker backlash prompts concern at the White House

(CNN)There is a growing sense of concern inside the White House over the negative reaction to Matthew Whitaker being tapped as acting attorney general after Jeff Sessions’ abrupt firing.

Whitaker, who was Sessions’ chief of staff, has faced criticism since Wednesday afternoon’s announcement for his previous comments on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Several senior officials told CNN they were surprised by the criticism, and believe it could potentially jeopardize Whitaker’s chances of remaining in the post if it continues to dominate headlines.
Whitaker is expected to take over oversight of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump campaign associates colluded with Russia. He has given no indication he believes he needs to step aside from overseeing the probe, according to one person familiar with his thinking, a belief echoed by White House officials. And a source close to the President told CNN that the idea of Whitaker ending or suppressing the Russia probe is not an option as of now.
But Whitaker has previously expressed deep skepticism about the probe, including arguing in a 2017 CNN op-ed that Mueller was “dangerously close to crossing” a red line following reports that the special counsel was looking into Trump’s finances and calling Mueller’s appointment “ridiculous” and “a little fishy” in a 2017 appearance on the “Rose Unplugged” radio program.
Whitaker also spoke about the investigation in numerous other radio and television appearances, including CNN, where he was a legal commentator.
It was not widely known among White House staff that he’d commented repeatedly on the special counsel’s investigation in interviews and on television — which is ironic given that this is what drew President Donald Trump to him and raises continued questions over the depth of the administration’s vetting process.
Sam Clovis, a 2016 Trump campaign national chairman who has close ties to Whitaker, encouraged him to get a regular commentary gig on cable television to get Trump’s attention, according to friends Whitaker told at the time. Whitaker was hired as a CNN legal commentator last year for several months before leaving the role in September 2017 to head to the Justice Department.
Along with the breadth of his previous comments on the investigation, there have been questions about the legality of Whitaker’s appointment.
George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, co-authored a New York Times op-ed published Thursday that called the appointment “unconstitutional.”
The Appointments Clause of the Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 2, Conway wrote, “means Mr. Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.”
Whitaker’s standing ultimately depends on the President. But continued negative coverage will get Trump’s attention.

Kentucky: Where Registered Independent Voters Aren’t Allowed To Vote

Kentucky: Where Registered Independent Voters Aren’t Allowed To Vote

 

Okay, so I have ALWAYS registered as an Independent, only to find out that Kentucky doesn’t allow Independents to vote in any of the primaries. That COMPLETELY makes me an irrelevant voter. Let’s face it both parties have always had crooks and liars presented to us as candidates. That’s the whole point of voting as an independent. I don’t want to be forced to vote Republican or Democrat. I want to be able to make my own decision as to who to vote for. Now the only thing I can do as an Independent voter is choose between whichever crook and liar the two parties put before us in November. POINTLESS!!!

 

One person one vote? No, I don’t believe that it is true in politics here in America today. My wife, son and I are registered voters as Independents, this is supposed to mean that you are not tied to any party, you can vote for whomever you choose. Florida was the first state I personally came across that did their political system like Kentucky does. I leave you with this thought. Some people defend their right to not let you vote during a primary because you have to be a registered member of their party don’t you know. Otherwise it wouldn’t ‘be fair”, really? Here is the irony of this fraud voting system, we Independents can vote in the main elections in November though. After the DNC and the RNC have figured out which one of their people who ‘we the people’ are going to be allowed to vote for. How come I can’t vote for Bernie Sanders today but if he is on the ballot in November representing the Democratic party, I can vote for him then? What I am saying is that I believe this current system is illegal as in Unconstitutional. Every person must be allowed the opportunity to vote equal times otherwise the State is not acting legally just as the RNC and the DNC are doing and being sanctioned by some of the States to do it. One person one vote, no not in Kentucky!

Kentucky: Where Registered Independent Voters Aren’t Allowed To Vote

Kentucky: Where Registered Independent Voters Aren’t Allowed To Vote

 

Okay, so I have ALWAYS registered as an Independent, only to find out that Kentucky doesn’t allow Independents to vote in any of the primaries. That COMPLETELY makes me an irrelevant voter. Let’s face it both parties have always had crooks and liars presented to us as candidates. That’s the whole point of voting as an independent. I don’t want to be forced to vote Republican or Democrat. I want to be able to make my own decision as to who to vote for. Now the only thing I can do as an Independent voter is choose between whichever crook and liar the two parties put before us in November. POINTLESS!!!

 

One person one vote? No, I don’t believe that it is true in politics here in America today. My wife, son and I are registered voters as Independents, this is supposed to mean that you are not tied to any party, you can vote for whomever you choose. Florida was the first state I personally came across that did their political system like Kentucky does. I leave you with this thought. Some people defend their right to not let you vote during a primary because you have to be a registered member of their party don’t you know. Otherwise it wouldn’t ‘be fair”, really? Here is the irony of this fraud voting system, we Independents can vote in the main elections in November though. After the DNC and the RNC have figured out which one of their people who ‘we the people’ are going to be allowed to vote for. How come I can’t vote for Bernie Sanders today but if he is on the ballot in November representing the Democratic party, I can vote for him then? What I am saying is that I believe this current system is illegal as in Unconstitutional. Every person must be allowed the opportunity to vote equal times otherwise the State is not acting legally just as the RNC and the DNC are doing and being sanctioned by some of the States to do it. One person one vote, no not in Kentucky!