Following the blue wave that hit DC this past Tuesday, Donald Trump needed a big distraction. We knew it would be ugly, but many overlooked the possibility that Attorney General Jeff Sessions could be fired. The natural choice to succeed him would, of course, be Rod Rosenstein, but we know that will never happen under Trump because Rod is a man of character who has defended Bob Mueller and his investigation. Trump needed a loyalist stooge (and fellow grifter) and he found just that in Matthew Whitaker. Trump found Whitaker on television and liked that he lacked integrity and firmly voiced his opposition to the Mueller probe.
As it turns out, according to Shelly Kelly at DESMOG, before going to work for Sessions, Whitaker made buckets full of money from dark, shady groups for a few years:
Whitaker was appointed as Session’s chief of staff on September 22, 2017. Before that, he served for three years as the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), which describes itself as “a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas.”
FACT has come under fire for its own lack of transparency, with the Center for Responsive Politics calling attention to FACT’s funding, which in some years came entirely from Donors Trust, an organization also known as the “Dark Money ATM of the Conservative Movement” and whose own donors include the notorious funders of climate denial, Charles and David Koch.
In 2016, Whitaker earned $402,000 as FACT’s director and president, according to the organization’s tax filings. That followed reported compensation from FACT for Whitaker of $63,000 in 2014, and $252,000 in 2015.
As always, Trump thinks he has made a brilliant move, but he actually pours more gasoline onto the fire that is his failed presidency. By making such a transparent appointment he has only brought more scrutiny, and urgency, to the Mueller probe.