The president’s abrupt decision to demand the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and to replace him with a known Trump loyalist, Matthew Whitaker, raised eyebrows around Capitol Hill and triggered a flurry of legal debate as to whether or not the move was even legal and its potential ramifications for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and White House.
Now the husband of one of the President’s staunchest defenders has stepped in to declare once and for all that the president’s move was unconstitutional.
Lawyer George Conway, husband to White House counselor and Trump confidant Kellyanne Conway, took to the pages of the New York Times to tell the American people that Trump’s installation of Whitaker is “unconstitutional. It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.”
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Conway explains that while most of the discussion has focused on the details of the Vacancies Reform Act, which dictates the different ways a President can fill vacancies caused by resignation or firings, the problem with the President’s actions is that it “defies one of the explicit checks and balances set out in the Constitution, a provision designed to protect us all against the centralization of government power.”
To prove it, Conway quoted the President’s “favorite” Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, who wrote the following about Trump’s efforts to appoint the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board without Senate confirmation:
“The Constitution’s drafters, Justice Thomas argued, ‘recognized the serious risk for abuse and corruption posed by permitting one person to fill every office in the government.’ Which is why, he pointed out, the framers provided for advice and consent of the Senate.”
What goes for a mere lawyer at the N.L.R.B. goes in spades for the attorney general of the United States, the head of the Justice Department and one of the most important people in the federal government.
Conway tore into the president for his “evasion of the Constitution’s very explicit, textually precise design” and accused him of betraying the structure of our founding document.
Given the importance of the position of Attorney General — the steward of the rule of law across our nation — and the critical role that position plays in the investigation of the president and preserving the independence of the judicial branch, we cannot simply allow the President to replace one complicit bootlicking lackey with another.