The Club unanimously passed a resolution at its November 13, 2018 meeting asking New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, to commence a lawsuit seeking to void the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as “acting" Attorney General.
The Club passed this resolution after Mr. Whitaker refused to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation and allow Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to continue to oversee the investigation.
In calling upon its Senators to commence legal action, the Club noted that this appointment is illegal under the federal law governing succession in the Department of Justice, which requires that the temporary replacement of a departing Attorney General be his or her Deputy, in this case Rod Rosenstein. The Club also noted that the Vacancies Act, relied upon by President Trump for this appointment, does not apply because the Attorney General Sessions was forced to resign. Most importantly, this appointment violates the Constitutional prohibition against the President appointing a cabinet officer without the “advice and consent” of the Senate.
“As New York Democrats,” Club President Bridget Cusick explained, “the FFDC is calling on our Senators to take legal action against this illegal appointment, because they have unique standing to challenge this attempt to circumvent their Constitutional role.”
The Club’s resolution also urges the Congress of the United States to do all in its power to ensure that the Special Counsel investigation of Russian interference in US elections is allowed to come to completion, that all records of the investigation are preserved, and that the report of the Special Counsel is made public. A full copy of the resolution appears below.
A Resolution Supporting the Investigations Led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller
Recalling that, on March 27, 2017, the Four Freedoms Democratic Club endorsed a resolution* calling for a Special Prosecutor and bipartisan investigative commission into Russian interference in the 2016 election;
Appreciating that, subsequently, a Special Counsel Investigation was established and charged with investigating the 2016 presidential election, including any possible links or coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Russian government, "and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation";
Noting that this investigation has already uncovered dozens of federal crimes, at least eight guilty pleas, and multiple convictions;
Grateful that the investigation has already resulted in the removal of several duplicitous and potentially very dangerous officials from the US government;
Believing that additional crimes and criminals will likely be exposed as the investigation proceeds, and its results are made public;
Concerned that some of these crimes may be serious enough to put the integrity of the US government in jeopardy and may rise to the level of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,” creating a constitutional crisis;
Clinging to the belief that, in a democracy, the Justice Department must maintain its independence of the Executive Branch;
Shocked that the day after the 2018 Election, the President of the United States demanded that the Attorney General of the United States resign, and illegally replaced him with an individual who has publically outlined strategies to end or cripple the Special Counsel investigation;
Noting that this appointment is illegal because: i) under 28 U.S.C § 508 the temporary replacement of a departing Attorney General must be his or her Deputy, in this case Rod Rosenstein; ii) the Vacancies Act, relied upon by the President for this appointment, does not apply, inter alia, because the Attorney General was forced to resign; and iii) this appointment violates the Constitutional prohibition against the President appointing a cabinet officer without Senate approval;
Horrified that the current President of the United States is misusing the powers of his office to protect himself, his family, his business, and his close associates from a legitimate investigation that may demonstrate that those individuals have committed crimes;
The Four Freedoms Democratic Club hereby:
- Urges the Congress of the United States to do all in its power to ensure that the investigation is allowed to come to completion and that all records of the investigation are preserved, and that the report of the Special Counsel is made public;
- Urges Matthew Whitaker, the acting Attorney General, to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation directly or indirectly and publicly announce that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will continue to oversee the investigation;
- Demands that any officials overseeing the investigation continue to provide the resources needed by the Special Counsel to complete his charge and publicly announce this commitment;
- Demands that appropriate committees of both the House and the Senate exercise their responsibilities to oversee the Executive Branch to ensure that the investigation remains independent;
- Call on U.S. Senators, and particularly Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, to commence a lawsuit seeking an order that the illegal appointment of Whitaker is null and void;
- Insists that no person, including the President is above the law.