Fears for Russian Federation probe as Trump fires Jeff Sessions

09 November, 2018, 08:48 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • U.S. President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony in Quantico Va 2017

Hundreds of people plan to rally at the Capitol in downtown Sacramento on Thursday afternoon to show support for the ongoing Russian Federation investigation, part of a nationwide protest after the Wednesday ouster of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions by President Donald Trump.

Without Sessions' campaign or Russian Federation entanglements, there's no legal reason Whitaker couldn't immediately oversee the probe.

Des Moines attorney Guy Cook, a Democrat who has known Whitaker for years, called him a clear thinker and a "no-nonsense guy who is not to be underestimated". Nadler and other Democrats on the committee suggested the shakeup appears to be an effort to alter oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe in a way that favors the president. Senator Susan Collins and Mitt Romney said it should not be impeded in any way. In an interview a year ago with a conservative talk radio host, Whitaker said there was "no collusion" between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation, a key question being examined by Mueller.

The switch, announced on Trump's Twitter feed, provoked consternation across Washington, where politicians from both sides of the aisle have long warned that political interference in Mueller's work can not be tolerated.

Democrats see this latest move as an attempt to do just that.

Sessions's interim replacement, his former chief of staff, Whitaker, has publicly criticised the Mueller probe for going beyond its remit.

Congressional Democrats are calling on Whitaker to recuse himself because of comments he made before joining the Justice Department that were critical and skeptical of the probe.

The mayor, who has gotten into it with the president on Twitter, added: "It is a shocking abuse of power".

Trump had repeatedly criticized Sessions for recusing himself from any investigation into potential Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election. He had frequently publicly castigated Sessions for recusing himself previous year from the case.

"The president could have done anything he wanted for many, many months now, and he's chosen not to", Toomey said.

That duty has belonged to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and closely monitors his work.

Trump fires US Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Donald Trump has asked Jeff Sessions to resign, the attorney general revealed in a letter to the president released Wednesday . He also said that Whitaker should recuse himself given previous comments about defunding and putting limitations on the probe.

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"Why is the President making this change and who has authority over Special Counsel Mueller's investigation?"

Could the investigation be limited?

Gonzales, who was the attorney general in George W. Bush's administration from 2005 to 2007, said he doesn't know Whitaker, his qualifications or motivations, but there's a lot that calls into question his appointment.

That left Rosenstein overseeing the investigation, and he named Mueller as special counsel.

"I could fire everybody right now, but I don't want to stop it because politically I don't like stopping it", Mr Trump told a White House news conference.

As Mueller has got closer to the heart of the Trump family's closely guarded financial secrets, the president has become more enraged.

There had already been hints that Robert Mueller's pre-election "quiet period" was about to come to an end.

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What's certain is that if the special counsel tries to issue new indictments or expand his inquiry, Matthew Whitaker is now in a position to rebuff those requests.

As deputy attorney general, Rosenstein is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Justice Department, including the activities of the country's USA attorneys.

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