For the second time in eight days, lawyers George Conway and Neal Katyal have called an action taken by President Donald Trump unconstitutional. Geroge Conway is the husband of Kellyanne Conway, special counsel to the president.
Last week, the two lawyers targeted Trump for saying he could end birthright citizenship with an executive order. This week, they published an op-ed in the New York Times criticizing Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general. Jeff Sessions resigned, per the president’s request, on Wednesday.
Conway and Katyal’s blow to Trump this time was especially devastating since it used the president’s own logic against him. They brought back Trump’s argument that the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller was unconstitutional based on the Appointments Clause of the Constitution.
The appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Despite that, we play the game because I, unlike the Democrats, have done nothing wrong!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2018
They debunked that Mueller’s appointment was illegal on the basis of the clause but argued that the appointment of Whitaker is. Traditionally, after an attorney general steps down, the deputy attorney general would take their place — in this case, Rod Rosenstein — since he’s been approved by Congress. Conway and Katyal explained their position on the Appointments Clause:
It means that President Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.
They continued, arguing that since Whitaker’s former position was Sessions’ chief of staff, he has no authority to take over the attorney general position:
We cannot tolerate such an evasion of the Constitution’s very explicit, textually precise design. Senate confirmation exists for a simple, and good, reason. Constitutionally, Matthew Whitaker is a nobody. His job as Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff did not require Senate confirmation. (Yes, he was confirmed as a federal prosecutor in Iowa, in 2004, but President Trump can’t cut and paste that old, lapsed confirmation to today.) For the president to install Mr. Whitaker as our chief law enforcement officer is to betray the entire structure of our charter document.
The two lawyers are worried that Whitaker’s appointment could undermine the Mueller investigation that is looking into Russian ties with Trump. But Kellyanne Conway disagrees with her husband and ensured that the Mueller investigation will continue as planned.
“One has nothing to do with the other really,” she said Wednesday on the Mueller investigation and Sessions’ resignation.
Watch the video below:
.@KellyannePolls on the impact AG Jeff Sessions' resignation has on the Robert Mueller investigation:
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) November 8, 2018
Kellyanne Conway added that she thought the investigation has gone on for a long time and “has been very costly to the taxpayer.”