Instead of promoting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to run the Justice Department, Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he’s replacing Jeff Sessions with his chief of staff Matthew Whitaker — a loyalist who argued last summer in a CNN op-ed that Robert Mueller’s investigation had gone too far.
In an August 2017 editorial penned two months before he joined the DOJ, Whitaker wrote that Trump’s finances should be off limits to the special counsel investigation.
“Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s letter appointing special counsel Robert Mueller does not give Mueller broad, far-reaching powers in this investigation,” the erstwhile AG chief of staff wrote. “He is only authorized to investigate matters that involved any potential links to and coordination between two entities — the Trump campaign and the Russian government.”
In late September, the New York Times reported that Whitaker was likely to replace Rosenstein as deputy AG because he’s known for having Trump’s vote of confidence.
The September Times report also noted that the now-acting AG was recommended for his former role in the DOJ by the head of the Federalist Society, an influential conservative think tank that promoted Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and numerous of Trump’s other judicial appointees.