Don't touch Russian Federation investigation, Mitt Romney tells Trump

Sergio Conner
November 9, 2018

As Whitaker takes the reins at the DOJ for now, the candidate search for a permanent replacement is said to include former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who is leaving due to term limits, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is expected to oversee the special counsel's investigation into potential coordination between the president's Republican campaign and Russian Federation now that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resigned.

In a CNN op-ed a year ago, Whitaker wrote, "Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russian Federation 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing".

In addition to Sessions' ouster, Democrats are also interested in looking into Mr. Trump's tax returns, and global business dealings. Winning confirmation in the Senate may become easier because Republicans gained seats in Tuesday's midterm elections.

Democrats warned against interference in the probe.

Whitaker has, however, argued for limitations on the investigation. "I'm concerned Rod Rosenstein will no longer be overseeing the probe".

Some Republicans appear to have shared the Democrats' concern over the future of the inquiry, which is being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Lamar Alexander, Republican senator for Tennessee, also issued a warning from the Republican side, saying that the Senate will not confirm a successor to Sessions who would stop the Russian Federation investigation. He added that it had "been a privilege" to work under Sessions.

The broadsides escalated in recent months, with Trump telling an interviewer that Sessions "never had control" of the Justice Department.

What does this mean for the Mueller probe?

"It should end, because it is very bad for the country", Trump told reporters. According to Conway, this come in violation of the Constitution's appointments clause.

Sessions was replaced Wednesday by interim Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. Previously he was a conservative legal commentator who was critical of the scope of Mueller's probe.

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In July 2017, he said during an interview on CNN that he could envision a scenario under which a temporary attorney general doesn't fire Mueller but rather "just reduces his budget to so low that his investigations grinds to nearly a halt".

Whitaker, a former USA attorney from Iowa who twice ran unsuccessfully for statewide office and founded a law firm with other Republican Party activists, once opined about a scenario in which Trump could fire Sessions and then appoint an acting attorney general who could stifle the funding of Mueller's probe.

Mr Sessions, a former senator representing Alabama, was among the early loyalists of Mr Trump before the relationship was soured shortly after he took office as Attorney General in 2017.

Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors are in the process of writing a final report on the almost 18-month long investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 election, sources tell ABC News. "This is a break-the-glass moment", he said.

But Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley praised Whitaker.

The president deflected questions about Sessions' expected departure at a White House news conference Wednesday. And he's one step closer to being able to do just that. An infuriated Trump responded by repeatedly and publicly seeking to humiliate Sessions.

'The rule of law is disappearing before our eyes, ' tweeted former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, who was the first senior figure fired by Trump. Chuck Schumer, said he should recuse himself because of his comments on the probe. Rep. Kobach, who has built a national profile as an advocate of tough immigration laws, advised Trump's campaign and the White House on homeland security issues and has made enacting state policies against illegal immigration a cornerstone of his campaign for governor. They also said they will continue to conduct parallel investigations alongside special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, and urging them to preserve all relevant documents.

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

"Donald Trump may think he has the power to hire and fire whomever he pleases, but he can not take such action if it is determined that it is for the purposes of subverting the rule of law and obstructing justice", said the congressman.

A political analyst in the state predicted Sessions would run for the seat.

Sessions took the lead in imposing Trump's travel ban targeting a number of mostly Muslim nations, canceling the so-called Dreamer program that let the children of undocumented immigrants remain in the US and forcing the separation of migrant families as part of a border crossing crackdown.

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