SEATTLE, WA – Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, member of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement regarding the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions:
“This was no simple resignation: President Donald Trump fired Jeff Sessions the day after an election in which his party lost control of the House. This is extremely dangerous territory, placing our nation in the throes of a potential constitutional crisis. We must do everything we can to protect the Special Counsel’s investigation, and to ensure that this president does not obstruct justice.
“The president has made it clear for months now that he considered Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein impediments to ending the Special Counsel’s probe into interference in our elections, the Trump’s campaign’s role in that and any potential obstruction of justice from the president himself. President Trump also criticized Attorney General Sessions numerous times merely for doing the right thing and recusing himself from supervising Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation. Installing a new Acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, who has clearly and vocally been critical of the Special Counsel’s investigation and has called for limitations on Robert Mueller and his team, could—in and of itself—be another example of potential obstruction of justice by the president. Reports that Mr. Whitaker is seeking to take over the supervision of the Special Counsel’s investigation must be stopped immediately—we believe it is not only wildly inappropriate for Mr. Whitaker to supervise the Special Counsel, but actually illegal based on the existing regulations. The president may act as though he can simply hire and fire whomever he wants, but this is not the case if his actions are shown to subvert the rule of law and obstruct justice.
“The House Judiciary Committee Democrats have already begun issuing letters to key officials demanding that they preserve all relevant documents to ensure evidence remains safe from improper interference or destruction. There is bipartisan support for these protections. Now is the time for Congress to pass the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act and protect the Special Counsel’s investigation from any attempt to interfere and obstruct.”