President Donald Trump appeared to blurt out an admission that his selection of Matt Whitaker as acting Attorney General was all about special counsel Bob Mueller's investigation in an interview with the conservative news outlet The Daily Caller.
Trump defended Whitaker as a “very respected” member of the Justice Department before pivoting, unprompted, to the Mueller probe.
“I knew him only as he pertained, you know, as he was with Jeff Sessions. And, you know, look, as far as I’m concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought. It should have never been had,” Trump said.
“It’s something that should have never been brought. It’s an illegal investigation. And you know, it’s very interesting because when you talk about not Senate confirmed, well, Mueller’s not Senate confirmed,” he added. “He’s heading this whole big thing, he’s not Senate confirmed. So anyway, I have a lot of respect for Matt Whitaker, based primarily on reputation. And I think he’s really — I think a lot of people are starting to come out very much in favor of him during this period of time.”
Prosecutor says Trump just implicated himself:
Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig told Business Insider, "What is so unusual about Trump is that he publicly forecasts his motivation in a way that is self-defeating and self-incriminating."
"Sometimes you get lucky and get emails or wiretapped phone calls ... where the subject might secretly or privately admit intent," she explained. "Other times the prosecutor simply must argue intent to the jury based on circumstantial evidence. With Trump, however, we have a subject who openly and publicly and unapologetically announces why he takes certain steps, even when those reasons might give rise to criminal liability."
Whitaker appointment may be unconstitutional:
The Justice Department backed Whitaker's appointment in a legal statement. Columnist Max Boot pointed out in The Washington Post, "The only precedent the Justice Department could cite to justify Whitaker’s appointment was another non-confirmed official who served as acting attorney general in 1866 for all of six days. If that is the precedent, then Whitaker should have already left office."
“In order to prevent a breakdown of federal law enforcement,” Yoo wrote, “the White House should hurry to select a permanent attorney general before any more damage is done.”