(CNSNews.com) -- Matthew G. Whitaker, the new acting attorney general of the United States -- AG Jeff Sessions resigned today, Nov. 7 -- stated in a commentary last year that "investigating the finances of Trump and his family," the business dealings of the Trump Organization, "goes beyond the scope" of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office.
Whitaker, the former chief of staff to Sessions, stressed that the Special Counsel was limited to investigating "matters that involved any potential links to and coordination between two entities -- the Trump campaign and the Russian government," and Trump family finances are outside that instruction.
Whitaker made his remarks in a commentary posted by CNN.com on Aug. 6, 2017, entitled "Mueller's Investigation of Trump is Going Too Far."
Investigation of non-Russia-related leads is "deeply concening to me," said Whitaker. "It does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump's finances or his family's finances falls completely outside of the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else."
"That goes beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel," said Whitaker.
"In fact, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's letter appointing special counsel Robert Mueller does not give Mueller broad, far-reaching powers in this investigation," said Whitaker. "He is only authorized to investigate matters that involved any potential links to and coordination between two entities -- the Trump campaign and the Russian government."
"The word 'investigation' is clearly defined" in Rosenstein's letter, he said, "as coordination between individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump and Russia. The Trump Organization's business dealings are plainly not within the scope of the investigation, nor should they be."
He continued, "Beyond the legal reading, the broad authority argument defies plain logic: If the special counsel could investigate anything he wants, why would there even need to be a letter spelling out the specific limits of the investigation?"
Mueller needs to obtain "additional authority" from Rosenstein in order to investigate Trump's fiannces or the finances of his family, said Whitaker, otherwise the case could devolve into a "witch hunt."
"It is time for Rosenstein, who is the acting attorney general for the purposes of this investigation, to order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel," said Whitaker. "If he doesn't, then Mueller's investigation will eventually start to look like a political fishing expedition."
"This would not only be out of character for a respected figure like Mueller," said Whitaker, "but also could be damaging to the President of the United States and his family -- and by extension, to the country."
Whitaker, 49, prior to serving as chief of staff to AG Jeff Sessions, was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa. He became the acting attorney general of the United States today, Nov. 7, 2018.