Whitaker must recuse
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker should be required to recuse from the investigation by the Special Counsel into possible coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Trump as well as investigations into Michael Cohen, the Trump Organization and the Trump Campaign, according to a letter sent today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) to the Department of Justice’s Designated Agency Ethics Official. This letter supplements CREW’s November 8, 2018 letter calling for Whitaker to recuse.
New information has come to light raising additional ethics concerns about Whitaker’s lack of impartiality with respect to these investigations and a reported separate consumer fraud investigation by the FBI into World Patent Marketing, a company that had an advisory board on which Whitaker served.
“Most alarmingly, Mr. Whitaker appears to have had private conversations with the President’s senior aides at the White House in the months preceding the firing of Attorney General Sessions and the announcement that Mr. Whitaker would serve as acting Attorney General,” the letter reads.
Whitaker’s prior affiliation with World Patent Marketing (WPM) raises new ethics concerns because of a reported FBI investigation into that company. To the extent that WPM is the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation Whitaker should also recuse himself from supervising that matter.
“Not only would Mr. Whitaker’s participation cause a reasonable person to question his impartiality in the WPM investigation, his connection to that entity raises serious questions about whether Mr. Whitaker can more broadly uphold his fundamental obligation as acting Attorney General to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws and ethical principles above all other interests,” the letter continues.