President Trump’s new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is faced with questions of his legitimacy, and the state of Maryland is reportedly set to ask a federal judge for an injunction declaring his appointment illegal, Fox News informed.
The state is poised to make an unprecedented move on Tuesday in a bid to block Whitaker to assume this position, arguing that his appointment is not legitimate. The state will claim that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is the rightful acting attorney general.
A draft filing of the motion obtained by the newspaper claims the President cannot “bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office.”
Whitaker’s appointment has been under fire ever since it was announced last week, along with the resignation of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Democrats had doubts over his qualifications and view on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, as the head of the Department of Justice is also tasked with the supervision of the investigation. Many lawmakers urged Whitaker to recuse himself from the investigation, over his alleged criticism towards it.
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer also sent a letter asking why the White House decided to pick “unconfirmed political appointee” as acting top law enforcement official in the county rather than following the statute.
The Trump administration stood in defense of Whitaker’s appointment by claiming the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, a 1998 statute that allows the president to temporarily fill a position that requires Senate confirmation with any official who’s been in the department.
Maryland will argue that the statute applies only to routine positions, not positions such as the U.S. attorney general.