Trump’s appointment of Whitaker as acting AG is lawful, Justice Dept. says

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The Justice Department vigorously defended the appointment of Matt Whitaker to serve as acting attorney general, saying Wednesday that the selection was entirely legal and that the White House was given that advice beforehand.

Steven Engel, assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, said in a 20-page written opinion that his office told the White House — before Whitaker was appointed — that the president “could designate a senior Department of Justice official, such as Whitaker, as acting attorney general.”

That advice was offered “after the White House asked what the president’s option would be in the event the office of attorney general was vacant and who might be eligible to serve,” a senior Justice Department official said.

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