Senate Judiciary Democrats sent a letter to the Justice Department inspector general on Friday calling for an investigation into the department’s ethics procedures, and particularly the process used by acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker in deciding not to recuse himself from overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
The letter was first reported by the Daily Beast.
Democrats expressed not just their concerns with Whitaker’s lack of recusal, but with how the ethics process will work for William Barr — the former attorney general and President Trump’s pick to replace Whitaker — if he’s confirmed.
The letter comes just before Barr is set to testify in front of the committee Tuesday as part of his confirmation.
Whitaker ignored the advice of the career ethics officials who recommended he recuse from overseeing Mueller’s probe and reportedly relied instead on the assessment of unknown political advisors.
Questions were raised about Whitaker’s oversight of the Mueller probe given that, prior to joining the Justice Department, Whitaker bashed the investigation and floated ideas for how to stymie it. Additionally, there’s been scrutiny of the organization he led that received hundreds of thousands of dollars from unknown donors.
Barr likewise has made comments critical of certain elements of Mueller’s investigation, including in an unsolicited letter he sent the Justice Department last year.
Read full letter below: