A.G. Underwood Calls For The Recusal Of Acting Attorney General Whitaker From Special Counsel's Investigation

News from the New York Attorney General's Office 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2018

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A.G. UNDERWOOD CALLS FOR THE RECUSAL OF ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL WHITAKER FROM SPECIAL COUNSEL'S INVESTIGATION

18 Attorneys General Send Letter to Whitaker Citing His Public Comments Criticizing Special Counsel’s Investigation; Urge that Rosenstein Continue to Supervise Investigation

NEW YORK – Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood – part of a coalition of 18 Attorneys General – called for the recusal of Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, referencing his widely-circulated public comments criticizing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“It’s vital that the Special Counsel’s investigation move forward free from any appearance of interference or bias. As such, Acting Attorney General Whitaker has a clear responsibility to recuse himself from any role in the investigation in order to ensure that the public can trust the integrity of the investigation and to protect DOJ’s fundamental independence,” said Attorney General Underwood.

The letter, sent directly to Whitaker at the U.S. Department of Justice, states that his recusal is “necessary to maintain public trust in the integrity of the investigation and to protect the essential and longstanding independence of the Department you have been chosen to lead, on an acting basis.” 

The Attorneys General cite federal ethics regulations that require federal government employees to recuse themselves from participation in matters involving any “question in the mind of a reasonable person about his impartiality.”

The letter states that in print, on television, and through social media, Whitaker has suggested cutting the Special Counsel Mueller’s budget or limiting his authority to follow lines of inquiry. The Attorneys General also write that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should continue to supervise the Special Counsel’s investigation, which must proceed free from interference or supervision that would “appear to many Americans to be biased.” 

The letter was signed by the Attorneys General of Massachusetts, New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.