Ex-Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker Says ‘Abuse Of Power Is Not A Crime’
Former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker claimed in an interview on Tuesday that President Donald Trump overstepping his authority would not constitute a crime. Whitaker cited the Constitution, although he did not point to a specific amendment or clause.
“I’m a former prosecutor and what I know is this is a perfect time for a preliminary hearing, where you would say, ‘Show us your evidence. What evidence of a crime do you have?’ The Constitution … abuse of power is not a crime,” Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney in Iowa, told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. “Let’s fundamentally boil it down to … the Constitution is very clear that this has to be some pretty egregious behavior, and they cannot tell the American people what this case is even about right now.”
Whitaker’s remarks drew severe criticism from many media figures, including MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley.
“The Constitution and the impeachment process is not about crime,” Wiley told MSNBC’s Ari Melber.
.@mayawiley slams Fmr Acting United States Attorney General Matt Whitaker’s claim that “abuse of power is not a crime”:
When the Founders took “high crimes and misdemeanors from the law of the crown, it was clearly understood that you would impeach someone for abuse of power” pic.twitter.com/T7PMqpXxpj
— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) October 23, 2019
Trump is the subject of an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats who claim he abused his power by soliciting help from foreign governments to benefit his 2020 re-election campaign. Several key witnesses, including top diplomats and other administration officials, have appeared before congressional committees despite attempts from the White House to block these testimonies.
Whitaker briefly served as the Justice Department’s leader from November 2018 to February 2019 before William Barr was nominated. Whitaker oversaw former special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into Russian interference and drew concerns that he would stop the inquiry. Many lawmakers and legal pundits also slammed Whitaker’s appointment as unconstitutional.