With Sessions Out, Dems Fear for Future of Mueller Probe

Howard TerryNov 09, 2018

Whitaker criticized both aspects previous year, and as he is now taking over oversight of the probe, he could try to strangle it, or even rescind Mueller's appointment.

"I'm profoundly concerned about it", he said. An infuriated Trump responded by repeatedly and publicly seeking to humiliate Sessions.

"It does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump's finances or his family's finances falls completely outside of the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else", he wrote.

He is a longtime friend of Trump and endorsed him after dropping out of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Nadler also called for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to oversee Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe rather than Whitaker, Sessions' former chief of staff. Whitaker claimed past year that Mueller's investigation has gone "too far" and explicitly stated that a replacement for Sessions could cause Mueller's work to "grind to a halt" by reducing the special counsel's funding.

Christie then ran the transition process before Mr. Trump took office, a task that was marginalized by other Trump aides and that ultimately bore only marginal influence on personnel and policy in the new administration.

Session was long criticized by Trump from recusing himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

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".

In the House of Representatives, the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee - which Democrats will control from January - called for an investigation of Sessions' firing. "Clearly, Attorney General Sessions doesn't have the confidence of the president".

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

Under the special counsel regulation, Mr Whitaker has the power to block any "investigative or procedural step" Mueller recommends, such as bringing an indictment or subpoena, if he determines it to be "inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices". But the work is not done, and critical decisions await that could shape the remainder of Trump's presidency. No one faced more rumors of an imminent dismissal than Sessions.

Sessions, 71, has a long political history in Alabama.

He said there are only three ways someone can become acting attorney general: if they are the deputy attorney general and the president signs an executive order to make them acting attorney general, if they are already at the Justice Department in a job that both required and received Senate confirmation or if the Senate in in recess, they can be a recess appointment.

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