Get out of my office! This casting Session is over.
Get out of my office! This casting Session is over.
It’s been a long time coming, and Jeff Sessions is formally out at the DOJ. The slow roll was more like a bad romantic comedy, where the two starring actors don’t mesh. The audience knows it’s going to fail, but they are compelled to watch the awkward scenes, until the drama finally closes with the expected conclusion. Nobody is surprised at the outcome, only that it took so long to happen. But who is the “understudy?” The new actor at the ready to jump in, and fill those now empty shoes?
He’s in for some heavy lifting as acting AG
This latest recast brings us Mr. Matthew Whitaker. The last time his name was batted about was after the revelation that DOJ #2 Rod Rosenstein was under consideration for resignation. It was looking grim for Rod after “joking” (so not joking) about his willingness to secretly record the President in order to provide ammunition for invoking the 25th Amendment. Waiting in the wings was Mr. Whitaker. He was then the DOJ Chief of Staff for Mr. Sessions and regularly working with the West Wing. As the September 26, 2018 New York Times piece describes,
Mr. Whitaker cuts the kind of central-casting figure whom Mr. Trump prefers, and he has served as what one White House aide called a “balm” on the relationship between the president and the Justice Department. He has frequently visited the Oval Office and is said to have an easy chemistry with Mr. Trump.
The chemistry was so good the NYT added that, according to administration officials, Mr. Whitaker had been considered for other positions within the West Wing. Specifically the White House counsel with the expected fall departure of Donald McGahn II.
I have so many questions about how this will set the stage for Mr. Rosenstein now that Mr. Whitaker (previously slated to ‘hot fill’ his position) is now his boss. We know what sort of person Rod Rosenstein is (questionable judgement to even joke about a wiretap of the POTUS), but what about Mr. Whitaker? We can see from his 2014 US Senate campaign interview, with the Des Monies Register editorial board, that he holds solid Republican values.
“I believe in what Ronald Reagan said, and that is: As government expands, liberty contracts,” and pledged that if elected to the Senate, he would push for a constitutionally limited federal government. If something isn’t authorized in the U.S. Constitution, it’s reserved for the states to decide, he said. He believes in modest taxes, reasonable regulations, free trade, a stable currency and protection of private property rights. Whitaker has described himself as “100 percent pro life,” as an opponent of “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants, and a supporter of Medicare reform and a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
~ Updated version Des Monies Register, September, 2018
His USA Today opinion article about James Comey’s reluctance to charge Hillary Clinton highlights that he shares the values of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT). A non-profit, “dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government,” for which he served as Executive Director between 2014-2017. In the USA Today piece Mr. Whitaker writes,
“Director Comey’s judgment was that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring the case. I disagree. I believe myself to have been a reasonable prosecutor, and when the facts and evidence show a criminal violation has been committed, the individuals involved should not dictate whether the case is prosecuted.”
This sounds a lot like the ‘transparency’ our politicians talk about when they complain about the “dark money” and “swamp” so common in DC. How awesome is it that the acting AG actually worked for an organization dedicated to rooting out those very issues!
I am looking forward to watching Liberals spin this into a hot mess of… “He’s obviously in the tank for Trump!” Though we should feel a bit sorry for them, because it will take a heaping spoonful of sugar to swallow this line of thinking. But, it’s likely there’s a push of the “Kava-gnaw” approach. Whereby they tear into a nothing burger and sit around pretending there’s something to it. Fortunately, after his time with CNN’s Don Lemon, Mr. Whitaker is likely to be familiar with their strategy.
Mr. Whitaker worked at CNN as a legal analyst and has already walked in the darkness of heavily biased news. As every great movie has foreshadowing, so does life. While at CNN he had occasion to give his opinion on the Muller investigation and how Rod Rosenstein should pull the reigns if Muller’s digging goes beyond reason.
Contrasting the previous relationship POTUS had with the DOJ, Sessions, and Rosenstein, the new casting has potential to go the distance. This calls for a batch of caramel corn to watch the new scenes unfold. I feel confident that somewhere in Season 2 they will be hitting up central casting for a new #2 at DOJ. Let’s hope this person is as qualified as Mr. Whitaker.
Featured Image: Carolyn Kaster/AP
Matthew Whitaker image: @MattWhitaker46/Twitter