News & Politics

Former CIA Staffer Argues Trump Only Picked the New Acting Attorney General to Because of the Russia Investigation

Trump's decision was transparent as it was abrupt.

Photo Credit: CNN

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation is suddenly under threat in a way in hasn't been since it began.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that he had ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who will be replaced by his current Chief of Staff Matthew Whitaker. As acting attorney general, Whitaker will presumably — assuming he has no conflicts of interest — begin overseeing the special counsel's probe. Sessions, having been a part of Trump's campaign, was recused from the matter that involves many members of the president's inner circle. This left the investigation in the hands of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

But it's not typical for chiefs of staff to replace the head of an agency when that head resigns, as former CIA staffer and NBC contributor Ned Price pointed out.

"If this wasn't about the Mueller probe, why install an Acting AG other than the DEPUTY Attorney General?" he wrote in a tweet. "That's why Cabinet Secretaries have Deputies. This was clearly about the Mueller probe."

The move is particularly suspicious because Whitaker has previously voiced criticisms of Mueller's investigation — and even floated scenarios about how it could be quietly quashed.

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.