Attorney General Jeff Sessions Resigns

Sergio Conner
November 9, 2018

The deputy attorney general appointed Mr Mueller to lead the inquiry after Mr Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey in 2017.

Protesters gathered Thursday in cities from NY to California in a warning to the White House not to derail Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is denying that President Trump has instructed Whitaker to limit the investigation into possible Russian collusion into the 2016 presidential election.

Here is a look at how Whitaker might stop or slow the Mueller investigation and the risks he might run in doing so. Last year Sessions recused himself from overseeing the Mueller probe, which has been a constant source of anger from the president.

A day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions' forced resignation, independent U.S. Sen. In the months before, Whitaker was a familiar presence on CNN, where he questioned Mueller's scope and reach. He said that reasonable people can agree with Whitaker's perspective on the Mueller investigation, but "I'm sure that's something that got the president's attention".

The 90-minute presser was a finger-wagging spectacle, with Trump repeatedly berating reporters and the media, and some observers comparing him to a drunk uncle at a wedding party as he rambled incoherently on sundry issues in a spectacle that many fear diminishes the United States.

The protest campaign claims on its website that with Sessions ousted and acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker replacing Rod Rosenstein in overseeing the Mueller investigation, Trump "undercut the independence of the investigation" because "Whitaker has publicly outlined strategies to stifle the investigation and can not be allowed to remain in charge of it".

Trump abruptly altered the chain of command above Mueller on Wednesday, putting his work under the supervision of a Republican loyalist who has been openly skeptical of the special counsel's authority and has mused about ways to curtail his power.

Good cause is a hard thing to show, especially since Mueller's actions were approved by the deputy attorney general, said Jens Ohlin, a professor of criminal law at Cornell Law School. "By forcing the firing (of) the attorney general, the president now threatens the rule of law itself".

There is some question whether Sessions was sacked or resigned.

Yet when Sessions got the boot on Wednesday ― his letter said he resigned at the president's request ― Graham offered a different message.

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While Whitaker is now Mueller's ultimate supervisor, it was not immediately clear whether that meant Rosenstein would step aside.

"The chances of Mueller being interfered with goes up dramatically" with Whitaker's appointment, he said.

The president can not directly fire the special counsel.

Rosenstein no longer will oversee the special counsel investigation.

In a separate op-ed for The Hill, Whitaker vehemently disagreed with fired FBI Director James Comey's decision to recommend against the prosecution of Hillary Clinton.

Robert Mueller's investigation is probing allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

The attorney general could also cut the budget for the special counsel's office.

The Democrats said they also want the Justice Department to protect the integrity of Mueller's investigation and to preserve relevant documents. He has previously said that he saw no basis for firing Mueller.

In April, Pingree co-sponsored House legislation to protect the Mueller investigation by making it more hard for a president to remove a special counsel.

Grassley said Whitaker "will work hard and make us proud", saying that the department would be in good hands during the transition. "The notification to Congress is mostly about transparency".

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