If Lame Duck Whitaker Tries to Interfere with the Mueller Investigation, He Could Face Jail Time
As I wrote recently, Whitaker’s days are numbered — literally. He was appointed under the federal Vacancy Act which allows him to serve for only 210 days. As of today, he has a maximum of 180 days remaining, but it was just reported today that the president is nominating William Barr to the post, a job he previously held under Pres. George H.W. Bush. Barr is likely to get confirmed and take office well prior to the Whitaker 180-day deadline.
Even before he was a lame duck, Whitaker needed to keep a low profile due to his obvious conflicts of interest, bias, heavy criticism as to the reason for his appointment, lack of qualifications, and his ethically questionable past conduct. Any effort by him to tamper with the investigation would not only create a firestorm, but would put him in the crosshairs of an Obstruction of Justice investigation by Mueller. If he tries to fire Mueller, court action by Mueller to nullify the firing would be very likely, as written here.
Lest you think that an Obstruction of Justice Prosecution of an Acting Attorney General is not likely or possible, recall that President Nixon’s Attorney General, John Mitchell, was convicted of the crimes of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury and was sentenced to 2 and 1/2 to 8 years in prison for his role in the Watergate break-in and cover-up. Nixon’s Chief of Staff, John Halderman, was also convicted of perjury, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice for his role in the Watergate cover-up and sentenced to 18 months in jail. And John Ehrlichman, Counsel and Assistant to Nixon also served an 18-month prison term for the same crimes.
The justice system is the U.S. is robust, alive, and well. There is an air of despondency in the media and among the public, but have no fear: our reputation as a country of laws is at stake. And almost nothing could be as important as determining whether our president is an unwitting or witting foreign agent or committed crimes in trying to cover his tracks.
Richard Ben-Veniste, a former Watergate prosecutor, has long spoken of the need for the country to be given a “civics lesson” in the form of prosecuting government officials who abuse their power and / or commit crimes.
That is likely to happen here.