A constitutional attorney says President Donald Trump is within his constitutional right to bypass controversial Rod Rosenstein as an interim replacement for departed Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
On the day after the 2018 midterms, Attorney Jeff Sessions tendered his resignation. It came as no surprise as Sessions and the president haven't been on the best of terms since the AG recused himself from the Russia probe without consulting the president. The move has potentially ominous implications for special counsel Robert Mueller's probe given that the new acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, has questioned the inquiry's scope and spoke publicly before joining the Justice Department about ways an attorney general could theoretically stymie the investigation.
Matt Barber, co-founder and chief counsel of Christian Civil Rights Watch, doesn't see the former U.S. senator disappearing into the sunset.
"I personally have nothing but the best for Jeff Sessions. I wish him well," Barber tells OneNewsNow. "I understand that he may well end up running for Senate in 2020 against [Democrat] Doug Jones for his old Senate seat [in Alabama]. I think that would be wonderful."
And like Sessions' resignation, the attorney says Trump's decision to name Whitaker as interim AG should be no surprise to anyone, considering what Rosenstein has done.
"President Trump has clearly done what he has done here because of more than a lack of trust of Rod Rosenstein," says Barber. "[He] is known to have talked about trying to invoke the 25th Amendment to get rid of President Trump or work toward impeachment of President Trump. Rod Rosenstein is an enemy of this president."
And Barber says by Sessions resigning, the president didn't have to put Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the interim position. "The president is not required to have Rod Rosenstein step into that position and is perfectly within his constitutional authority to bypass Rod Rosenstein," he explains.
Several Democratic leaders have used the phrase "constitutional crisis" when reacting to Sessions' exit – but White House counselor Kellyanne Conway disputes that characterization. "The Democrats don't seem to begin or end a sentence these days without having the word 'crisis' in it," she stated.