Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s disturbing past is now firmly in the limelight with Donald Trump’s decision to oust Jeff Sessions. While several leading law enforcement officials, as well as political leaders, have called on Whitaker to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, his problematic past and derision for diversity in the justice department seem to be the very reasons that he has been tasked with leading the investigation.
One of the major issues with Whitaker overlooking the probe is the fact that he appears to have made his mind up about the result already. As the Daily Beast reported, Whitaker said in an interview that there was “no collusion” between Russia and the Trump campaign, even though the Special Counsel has indicted multiple people during the course of the investigation and continues to investigate with an end not immediately in sight.
“The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign,” he said in an interview on the Wilkow Majority show.
Whitaker is also accused of siphoning off money from military veterans during his time as “an advisory board member for World Patent Marketing (WPM), a Florida-based company accused by the US government of tricking aspiring inventors out of millions of dollars,” as reported by the Guardian.
As if these are not enough grounds for a recusal, Newsweek now reports that Whitaker, who is popular in right-wing media for his radical views, once said that Muslims, Jews, and atheists should not be allowed to serve as federal judges because they don’t have a “biblical view of justice.”
The comments were made during a forum hosted by the religious-right group, The Family Leader, back in 2014 when Whitaker was running for the Republican Senate nomination in Iowa. When a host at the event asked Whitaker how he would attempt to block Obama-appointed federal judges, Whitaker said he would see if they believed in “natural law” — “a belief that legal rights and systems of morals were given to humans by God.”
“And while I agree that I want to understand their judicial philosophy and whether they understand natural law and natural rights and then the founding documents and how they fit together. I don’t think that gets us far enough.
“What I’d like to see is things like their worldview. Are they people of faith? Do they have a biblical view of justice? I think that is very important.
“And I know is as long as they have that [New Testament] worldview that they’ll be a good judge.”
Whitaker also said he would be very “concerned” if the proposed judges have a “secular” point of view.
His comments are deeply troubling, not only because they promote disqualifying judges based on their religion, but also because it appears that Whitaker has a view of justice completely at odds with what is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.