Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) had some strong words for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) after he called for acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing special council Robert Mueller’s investigation.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at the request of President Donald Trump. Shortly after, the White House announced that Whitaker would be acting as attorney general until a replacement is nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate.
One cloud that hung over Sessions’ time as attorney general was his decision to recuse himself from Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump didn’t hide his disappointment with Sessions’ decision.
Now, Whitaker, in his role of acting attorney general, has not announced any intention to recuse himself from Mueller’s investigation.
In response to this, Schumer called for Whitaker to recuse himself from the investigation completely because of his past criticisms about the investigation.
Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 7, 2018
Schumer also stated:
“Our paramount view is that any attorney general, whether this one or another one should not be able to interfere with the Mueller investigation in any way. They should not be able to end it. They should not be able to limit it. They should not be able to interfere with Mueller going forward and doing what he thinks is the right thing.”
In response to Schumer’s recusal request, Rep. Gowdy explained why the minority leader’s request is frivolous.
“Every prosecutor has jurisdictional boundaries. I don’t know a single prosecutor that does not and Mueller’s jurisdictional boundaries were set by Rod Rosenstein in the memo that you have seen. They were altered and amended in the memo we have not seen. But there’s never been a prosecutor that’s had unfettered power to go investigate whatever the heck he or she wanted to do. If you’re a state prosecutor, you can’t investigate federal crimes. If you’re in New York, you can’t investigate things in Idaho. So the notion that we’re going to create a special council that has no boss, no jurisdictional restrictions at all is just typical Chuck Schumer.”
Rep. Gowdy doubled his attack on Schumer, adding, “I think that’s why so few people take him seriously.”
As of now, Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself. It is not yet clear who Trump will nominate to fill Sessions’ position or how long Whitaker will be acting attorney general.