ew Attorney General William Barr will not recuse himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia collusion investigation.
Department of Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement, “Following Attorney General Barr’s confirmation, senior career ethics officials advised that Attorney General Barr should not recuse himself from the Special Counsel’s investigation. Consistent with that advice, Attorney General Barr has decided not to recuse.”
The Hill reports:
Some Democrats urged Barr to step aside from overseeing the Mueller investigation, citing a memo Barr sent last June to the Justice Department and the White House criticizing the special counsel’s inquiry into whether Trump obstructed justice.
Barr’s views in support of executive power and his refusal to commit to publicly releasing the full report at the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation also contributed to Democratic opposition to his appointment.
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pecial Counsel Robert Mueller has responded to the appointment of Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.
Politico reports that Mueller’s top attorney, Michael Dreeben stated in a 17-page legal brief that Whitaker’s new role as Acting Attorney General “neither alters the special counsel’s authority to represent the United States nor raises any jurisdictional issue.”
Dreeben continued, “The Special Counsel continues to exercise the same authority, and the jurisdiction of the district court and this Court is intact.”
Dreeben’s comments came in response to an order from a federal appellate court seeking last minute briefs in a case for former Roger Stone aide, Andrew Miller against Robert Mueller.
Whitaker has been under fire from Democrats ever since he was appointed, with many arguing he should recuse himself from his oversight role of the Russia investigation due to his previous public comments criticizing Mueller’s probe.
Leading Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Whitaker as acting attorney general would create a “constitutional crisis,” telling CNN, “The appointment of Mr. Whitaker should concern every American. If he stays there, he will create a constitutional crisis by inhibiting Mueller or firing Mueller.”
Last week, it was reported that Whitaker would speak with ethics officials at the Department of Justice about matters that “may warrant recusal.”
In a statement acquired by The Hill, DOJ Spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said, “Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is fully committed to following all appropriate processes and procedures at the Department of Justice, including consulting with senior ethics officials on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal.”