Democrats demanded that Whitaker recuse himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation. The president did not call him.
And no, it was not the top story of the day, because, in the morning, President Donald Trump had fired his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the CBS late-night host revealed, which seemed to come as news to many in his Ed Sullivan Theater audience, based on their reaction.
If Mr Whitaker chose to fire Mr Mueller, he would need to inform the special counsel in writing of the specific reason for his termination.
The replacement raises questions about the future of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and obstruction of justice.
"Any investigation into President Trump's finances or the finances of his family would require Mueller to return to Rod Rosenstein for additional authority under Mueller's appointment as special counsel", Whitaker also wrote in the CNN piece in 2017. Yes, Sessions did submit a letter of resignation. He was a vocal critic of Mr Mueller, arguing in an op-ed for CNN a year ago that the probe should not go into the finances of Mr Trump and his family members.
Whitaker himself meanwhile offered little clue about his intentions in a bland statement to reporters thanking Trump for his appointment, praising his former boss as a "dedicated public servant" and adding he would work to leading a department that conformed to the "highest ethical standards".
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The decision infuriated Trump, who repeatedly lamented that he would have never selected Sessions if he had known the attorney general would recuse. Or by people who have nothing to do with the Russian Federation investigation, said Prof Ohlin. It's also worth noting that Graham himself has been rumored to be a possible replacement for Sessions.
In his resignation letter, SESSIONS writes, "we have restored and upheld the rule of law - a glorious tradition that each of us has a responsibility to safeguard".
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican representing SC, vowed to help President Trump find a worthy successor for Sessions. In fact, Mr Whitaker told CNN past year that a future attorney general could limit Mr Mueller by reducing the budget "so low that his investigations grinds to nearly a halt".
Good cause is a hard thing to show, especially since Mr Mueller's actions were approved by the deputy attorney general, said Jens Ohlin, a professor of criminal law at Cornell Law School. He also announced media leak crackdowns, tougher policies against opioids and his Justice Department defended a since-abandoned administration policy that resulted in parents being separated from their children at the border. The recusal left the investigation in the hands of Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller two months later after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey.
Others being considered include Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, retiring Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, former Attorney General William P. Barr and Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, the Wall Street Journal reported.