More than 400 lawyers and staffers who work at the Department of Justice have asked for Matthew Whitaker to be removed as acting Attorney General, according to USA Today.
They all signed a statement that leaves no question about what they think of Trump’s decision to give the post to Whitaker, who served as the Chief of Staff to the previous Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“Because of our respect for our oaths of office and our personal experiences carrying out the department’s mission, we are disturbed by the president’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker to serve as Acting Attorney General,” the statement says.
“Because of the profound responsibilities the position entails and the independence it requires, it can only be filled by someone who has been subjected to the strictest scrutiny under the process required by the Constitution.”
They say that Whitaker’s appointment to the post is a violation of the Constitution, as he has never been confirmed for any position by the Senate.
Many of those who signed the statement are long-term alums of the DOJ and have served both Republican and Democratic Administrations.
Whitaker was an unpopular choice for the position from the beginning, and there has been an outcry against his appointment from the first moment it was announced. Whitaker has been vocally critical of the Robert Mueller investigation into Russian hacking of the 2016 Presidential election. Now, he’s in charge of that investigation as the acting Attorney General for the United States.
The statement concludes with the action they want Donald Trump to take. It says he must replace Whitaker as acting Attorney General with “the Senate-confirmed official who is next in line of succession by operation of federal law.”
That would be Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He has been in this position since 2017 and has been confirmed by the Senate.
Trump appointed Whitaker to the position himself under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, which allowed him to bypass Rosenstein for the job and appoint someone of his own choosing, according to Vox.
Numerous lawsuits have already been filed to challenge Whitaker in the role of acting Attorney General.
Donald Trump has previously said that he is pleased with Whitaker and that he feels “no urgency” to appoint a permanent replacement to the position, according to the Huffington Post.
Jeff Sessions, who was appointed as Attorney General by Trump, resigned from the position after months of being publicly lambasted by the President.