Who Is?
S3 E14

Who Is Matthew Whitaker?

Matthew Whitaker is the acting Attorney General who reportedly has no intention of recusing himself from the Mueller probe he repeatedly criticized. Here’s why Trump turned a former hot tub salesman with little experience into the nation’s top law enforcement official.

Michael G. Whitaker was born in 1969 in Ankeny, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines. In 1995, he received his Juris Doctor degree and a master’s degree in finance from the university’s school of business.

Upon graduation, Whitaker went into practice as a lawyer for a handful of regional law firms. He was also corporate counsel for a national grocery company. In 2002, with experience in arguing for grocery stores, he decided to take his talents to public office. As a Republican, Whitaker ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer of Iowa, losing the race to the incumbent Democrat. By 2004, Whitaker finally locked down a position in politics It was a position that didn’t have to be voted on - so he won! He was appointed the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa where he served for 5 years, until the Obama administration took over.

Whitaker then thought he’d try his hand at running for the highest chamber of Congress. He ran as a Republican in Iowa for the United States Senate. But Whitaker’s arguably most troubling idea came when he said he would only support federal judges who have a biblical worldview. In a 2014 debate, Whitaker went pretty hard at the idea of a secular judge - even though the office of a U.S. Senator is secular. "If they have a secular worldview, then I'm going to be very concerned about how they judge," he said.
The Des Moines Register notes that what he was effectively saying was, “if elected, he would see no place for a judge of Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic or other faith, or of no faith.”  

After news broke that Donald Jr. had met with a Russian lawyer who was offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, Whitaker came to bat for the president’s adult son. Continuing his quest to become a blip on Trump’s radar, Whitaker retweeted a Philadelphia Inquirer article titled, “Note to Trump’s Lawyer: Do Not Cooperate With Mueller Lynch Mob.” All of this was seemingly music to Trump’s ears as—just a month after Whitaker’s hit piece on Mueller’s probe dropped—Attorney General Jeff Sessions hired him as his chief of staff.

On November 7, 2018, Trump forced Sessions to resign. The latest move in his slow-motion Saturday night massacre. The president’s reason for bypassing Rod Rosenstein, the guy who’s actually senate confirmed, for Matthew Whitaker is pretty clear by now.