On Wednesday, President Donald Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign from his post. And Sessions respectfully obliged.
Shortly thereafter, Trump announced that Matt Whitaker would replace Sessions as the new acting attorney general. However, according to Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano, Trump may have broken the law in doing so, because Whitaker was not confirmed by the Senate.
“Under the law, the person running the Department of Justice must have been approved by the United States Senate for some previous position. Even on an interim post,” he explained to Fox News host Dana Perino.
Napolitano also added that, according to the law of the land, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is supposed to be the next in line.
“[Whitaker] was not confirmed by the United States Senate for a leadership position at the Justice Department. The White House will have to work this out. Who has been confirmed and who’s next in line? Deputy attorney general Rosenstein,” he said.
Napolitano also questioned Trump’s motive in the firing of Sessions, particularly in regards to how it pertains to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation.
“The president can fire an attorney general if for almost any reason. He cannot fire him if the purpose is to shake up the leadership of the Justice Department in order to interfere with a criminal investigation that the president wants to interfere with,” Napolitano said.
He added, “If that’s the reason for which Mr. Whitaker is now the acting Attorney General of the United States — Mr. Whitaker himself could be in the crosshairs of Bob Mueller.”