SF City Attorney Has Doubts About Trump’s Acting Attorney General

You can add San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera to the list of individuals questioning the legitimacy of newly-appointed Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, Herrera notes that Whitaker, who previously served as Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Given the questions surrounding the constitutionality of Whitaker’s appointment under 28 U.S. Code § 508, Herrera asks the DOJ to provide him with its legal justification.

Herrera is more than a spectator. His office is currently involved in four lawsuits against the DOJ.

“Given that Attorney General Sessions’ resignation will affect San Francisco’s pending litigation, I ask that you provide legal justification for the appointment of Acting Attorney General Whitaker,” Herrera wrote, “otherwise, San Francisco may be forced to move the court to obtain additional guidance.”

Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at the president’s request on Nov. 7 after more than a year of public shellacking over his decision to recuse himselff from the Russia investigation. Trump’s decision to fire Sessions and then replace him with an unconfirmed underling, rather than a confirmed appointment such as Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, has raised serious questions among both progressive and conservative legal scholars.

This week, the state of Maryland filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the legality of Whitaker’s appointment. On Wednesday, the DOJ said it had preapproved the appointment before Trump gave Whitaker the nod.

You can read Herrera’s letter to the DOJ here