Sen. Risch Says He Doesn't Know if Mueller's Appointment is Constitutional

By Gavi Greenspan | June 6, 2018 | 2:15pm EDT
Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho)

( -- When asked whether the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged Russia-Trump campaign collusion is unconstitutional, Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) said he did not know and that it was “a purely legal question.”

At the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, asked Sen. Risch, “Professor Steven Calabresi of Northwestern Law School and Mark Levin have argued that Robert Mueller’s appointment violates the Appointments Clause, because he is a principal officer exercising at least the authority of a U.S. Attorney but was not appointed by the President or confirmed by the Senate. Do you agree that Mueller’s appointment is unconstitutional?”

“I can’t answer that question” said Sen. Risch. followed-up, “You can’t answer that question?”

Sen. Risch said, “I, I don’t know. That’s a -- that’s a proposition of law that would require debriefing on both sides plus argument and then decision by a court. So until a court decides on it, you won’t know what the answer to that is.”

“But it is a legal, it is a purely legal question, not a political question,” said Risch.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, left, and Deputy Attorney General
Rod Rosenstein.  (YouTube) 

Professor Steven Calabresi and Mark Levin have argued that Mueller’s appointment and subsequent investigation are unconstitutional because Mueller was not appointed by the president or confirmed by the Senate, and yet has been given the authority of a “principal officer."

Professor Calabresi also referred to the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in Morrison v. Olson, arguing that because Mueller does not have a direct supervisor, he qualifies as a “principal officer” and therefore constitutionally must be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

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