Aggressive Trump tries to consolidate position with Sessions firing before Mueller report

Aggressive Trump tries to consolidate position with Sessions firing before Mueller report

Aggressive Trump tries to consolidate position with Sessions firing before Mueller report

US President Donald Trump's decision to oust Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replace him with a noted critic of Special Counsel Robert Mueller raised immediate fears among Democrats about the future of Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Instead, he gave Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein the authority to oversee the probe independently. "Clearly, Attorney General Sessions doesn't have the confidence of the president".

Several Republican senators, including the newly elected Mitt Romney, a former presidential candidate, said that the investigation led by Robert Mueller must be allowed to reach its conclusion.

The Justice Department has declined to answer whether ethics officials have been asked to review if Whitaker should recuse himself from the Mueller probe.

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". Trump had been widely expected to fire Sessions after Tuesday's midterm elections. Whitaker is poised to take over the Russian Federation investigation, a probe he has criticized in the past.

He managed a Senate campaign for Sam Clovis in Iowa, who later was nominated to join the Trump administration, ran Iowa for Trump, and was interviewed by Mueller's investigators.

"All leader McConnell has to do is bring it to the floor for a vote and I think we can lay all this anxiety to rest", King said Thursday.

That drew criticism from Democrats because Whitaker, who would now take over responsibility for overseeing Mueller and his investigation, has been critical of the Mueller probe, saying it should be scaled back. He said it would spark a "constitutional crisis" if Trump forced out Sessions as a "prelude" to ending or limiting Mueller's investigation.


The protests come a day after Trump fired Sessions, who had angered the president by recusing himself from the Mueller investigation.

Counselor to President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway, is interviewed on television at the White House's North Lawn in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.

He also said the line of succession within the Justice Department does not include the chief of staff and the fact that someone in that position would be made acting attorney general is "very odd".

That left Whitaker in charge, at least for now, though Democrats, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen.

In July 2017 Mr Trump told the New York Times: "Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else".

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) faced a seemingly uncomfortable moment on Fox News Thursday when confronted with his past remarks claiming there would be "holy hell to pay" if Jeff Sessions was sacked.

"For our democracy to work, no one - including the president - can be above the law", she said.

The special counsel's office upheld a long-standing Justice Department guideline that calls for discretion in taking legal or law enforcement measures within 60 days of an election in an effort to avoid the impression of attempting to sway voters.

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