What the acting attorney general thinks of the Mueller probe

Leroy Wright
November 9, 2018

WASHINGTON-The ouster of Attorney General Jeff Sessions by President Donald Trump on Wednesday drew sharp criticisms from both Democrats and Republicans, who warned the latter against moving to squash a probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election.

That investigation is now being lead by former FBI director Robert Mueller, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and has overseen the probe's work.

Separately, Justice Department prosecutors in NY secured a guilty plea from Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who said the president directed him to arrange hush money payments before the 2016 election to two women who said they had sex with Trump.

Mr Whitaker has publicly criticised Mr Mueller's conduct several times since the inquiry began in May previous year and taken the side of Mr Trump, who has dismissed it...

It is not clear how long Whitaker will be the acting attorney general, as a discussion about a permanent replacement is underway at the White House in the wake of Sessions' resignation.

Whitaker's elevation to become the nation's top law enforcement official followed the ouster Wednesday of Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

It was Clovis, no stranger to TV and radio himself, who encouraged Whitaker to get a regular commentary gig on cable television to get President Donald Trump's attention, according to friends who Whitaker told at the time.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who months ago warned Trump against firing Sessions, met with the President Thursday and said he had "confidence" Whitaker would do a professional job 'in this position'.

House Democrats said on Wednesday that they would attempt to include a measure protecting Mueller into an appropriations bill that Congress is due to consider later this year.

As Sessions ousted, SC protesters to join nationwide call for Mueller protections
Installing Whitaker could clear the way for Trump to force out Mueller. Sessions, 71, has a long political history in Alabama. He did not respond when asked why he was there.

Trump originally said he fired Comey on the recommendation of Sessions and Rosenstein for mishandling the inquiry into Clinton's use of private email when she was secretary of state, although the president later acknowledged he acted because of Comey's pursuit of "this Russian Federation thing".

According to the Washington Post, Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself, putting the two sides on collision course should the acting attorney general interfere with the Mueller probe.

The investigation until now has been overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller past year and granted him fairly broad authority. He appointed Mueller in May 2017 as the justice department's special counsel to take control of the FBI's Russian Federation probe after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

'Nor has a President ever before appointed an acting attorney general who is on record describing the means by which the President could curtail an ongoing investigation of the President's conduct'.

Some prominent legal scholars have already lambasted the choice of Whitaker, including George Conway, the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.

Democrats also raised concerns about the appointment of Whitaker, 49, who will now oversee Mueller's probe.

Whitaker has, however, argued for limitations on the investigation.

Trump was only a few weeks into his presidency in March 2017 when Sessions upset him by stepping aside from overseeing an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe of potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. The moment the Democrats clinched the required 23 seats to retake the lower chamber; they were readying the various probes into this presidency-and the left wing harassment of this administration is about to begin. He also said there was no evidence Russian Federation interfered in the election at all.

The president can not directly fire the special counsel.

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