Graham: Acting AG Whitaker Was ‘Appropriately Appointed Legally’ and Should Not Recuse Himself from Mueller Probe

Melanie Arter | November 12, 2018 | 3:57pm EST
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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) (Screenshot)

( - Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, defended President Donald Trump’s appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, saying he was “appropriately appointed legally” and that Whitaker does not need to recuse himself from the Mueller probe.

Graham is set to meet with Whitaker this week. When CBS’s Margaret Brennan asked whether Graham plans to ask Whitaker to recuse himself and whether Whitaker’s appointment is constitutional, Graham said, “Good question. I talked with Matt yesterday. I'm going to meet with him next week when we get our schedules aligned here. I think he's-- was appropriately appointed legally. I don't think he has to recuse himself.

“I am confident the Mueller investigation would be allowed to come to a good solid conclusion, that there'll be no political influence put on Mister Mueller by Mister Whitaker to do anything other than Mr. Mueller's job. I am confident that Mister Mueller will be allowed to do his job without interference,” he said.


“I ask you that question, because as you know, there have been a number of public statements made by Whitaker, including saying there's no criminal obstruction of justice charge to be had against President Trump that seems prejudicial to many. He's referred to special counsel as the Mueller lynch mob. What about these comments suggest to you that he's going to be impartial?" CBS's Margaret Brennan asked.

“Well you don't recuse somebody because they have opinions different than the people they are overseeing. Trust me there is politics abounds when it comes to the Mueller investigation that Trump is guilty and no matter what Mueller finds, but the bottom line here is that Mister Mueller will be allowed to do his job without political interference by Mister Whitaker,” Graham said.

He stressed that Whitaker “is legally qualified and otherwise qualified to oversee this investigation until a new attorney general will be appointed,” which Graham guessed will happen early next year.

When asked what his first question for the new attorney general nominee will be next year, Graham said, “Well, depends on what the lay of the land is. If Mueller is still not finished with this investigation, are you going to allow him to do his job? But a lot of questions about how the Department of Justice works.”


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