I had the honor of serving with Matt Whitaker as a U.S. attorney under President George W. Bush and know from first-hand experience that he embodies the ideals crucial to running the Justice Department effectively.
First and foremost, Matt prioritizes the impartial application of the law. Some critics of Matt have deemed him partisan, claiming he would be unable to maintain an impartial view of the investigations surrounding President Donald Trump. But the fact is that as political appointees, few U.S. attorneys are strangers to politics. Many have previously been candidates or are destined to be candidates in the future.
The job of a federal prosecutor is not to be blind to politics, but to ensure that when it comes to individual investigations or prosecutions, only two things can drive decisions: the facts and the law. Not politics. Not partisanship.
Like Jeff Sessions before him, Matt is an experienced prosecutor. Indeed, while people seem to fear a deep rupture in the Justice Department during Matt’s leadership, it’s important to recognize that some of his most impressive credentials are in line with his predecessors’ priorities.
When Matt was U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Iowa from 2004 to 2009, he prosecuted thousands of cases involving drug dealers and violent felons. And like Sessions, Matt recognizes the importance of securing our borders, having prosecuted hundreds of illegal immigrants, as well as the masterminds behind a scheme to undermine America’s visa system. He understands the importance of government accountability and transparency, which is why he pursued government contractors who defrauded taxpayers.
I suspect one reason the news media distrust Matt is simply because he hasn’t been a D.C. fixture. He’s a proud Iowan who earned three degrees from the University of Iowa (and even started for the Hawkeyes’ 1991 Rose Bowl team). In other words, he’s not from the swamp. Matt is eminently qualified to serve as acting attorney general.
Bud Cummins served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas from 2001 to 2006.