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Trump judicial nominee Matthew Petersen pulls out after struggling to answer basic questions

Trump judicial nominee Matthew Petersen pulls out after struggling to answer basic questions

Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) asked President Trump’s U.S. District nominee Matthew S. Petersen law questions during a hearing on Dec. 13. Peterson struggled to answer the standard questions. (Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse/Twitter) Matthew Petersen, a nominee to the federal judiciary, has withdrawn from consideration days after a video clip […]

by John Wagner December 18 at 3:48 PM | Washington Post

Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) asked President Trump’s U.S. District nominee Matthew S. Petersen law questions during a hearing on Dec. 13. Peterson struggled to answer the standard questions. (Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse/Twitter)

Matthew Petersen, a nominee to the federal judiciary, has withdrawn from consideration days after a video clip showed him unable to answer basic questions about legal procedure, the White House confirmed on Monday.

Petersen, nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is the third Trump judicial pick to withdraw in the past week amid criticism from Democrats and others about their qualifications.

White House spokesman Raj Shah confirmed that Trump had accepted Petersen’s withdrawal but declined to comment further.

The video of Petersen that went viral on Thursday captured five minutes of brutal questioning by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) at Petersen’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee the day before.

It was posted on Twitter by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who wrote that it showed Kennedy asking Petersen “basic questions of law & he can’t answer a single one.”

As of Friday, the White House was standing by Petersen, with a spokesman saying that he was qualified and that“the President’s opponents” were “trying to distract from the record-setting success the President has had on judicial nominations.”

Petersen, a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, has been a member of the Federal Election Commission since 2008 but has no trial experience. His tenure on the FEC overlapped with that of now-White House counsel Don McGahn for about five years.

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