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What the acting attorney general thinks of the Mueller probe

09 November, 2018, 08:44 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • US Attorney General Jeff Sessions Says Resigning At Trump's Request

However, it would be an immediate priority for Democratic investigations when they officially take control of the House in January. "Mueller must be allowed to continue his successful work and Matt Whitaker must never be allowed to oversee it". The theory of an independent DOJ will not apply, naturally, to future Democratic presidents who, like Barack Obama, view their Attorney General as a "wing man".

Warner said it would be a "bright" red line crossed if Whitaker fires or hampers Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

One of the exceptions, Senator Susan Collins, said non-interference in the Mueller probe was "imperative".

During a brief stint past year as a conservative legal commentator on CNN, Whitaker often appeared as a Trump defender, saying he saw no evidence the president colluded with Russians during the 2016 campaign or obstructed justice. Trump, who denies any collusion, has long complained about the probe, calling it a witch hunt. Justice Department officials said his taking over for his boss was, at the very least, "awkward", because chiefs of staff typically leave with the attorney general.

The Washington Post reported that Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself, following howls from Democrats about his past statements on the special counsel.

The departure was the culmination of a toxic relationship that frayed just weeks into Sessions' tenure, when he stepped aside from the Russia investigation because of his campaign advocacy and following the revelation that he had met twice in 2016 with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. At this point, the investigation has lasted almost a year and a half.

Sessions, a 71-year-old former Republican senator from Alabama, was the first senator to endorse Trump's insurgent presidential campaign.

"Dear Mr President, at your request I am submitting my resignation", he wrote in an undated letter. It's clear to me it's not working, was not working between Attorney General Sessions and President Trump.

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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. Whitaker has publicly outlined strategies to stifle the investigation and can not be allowed to remain in charge of it.

With the midterms over, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is believed to be preparing fresh indictments against Trump campaign figures, possibly including his son Donald Trump Jr. and a former campaign consultant Roger Stone, and could press for the president himself to answer questions. A person familiar with the matter said he got on the White House's radar via conservative circles in Iowa, his TV appearances and his connections with the Federalist Society and other conservative groups. Mueller's team also has been pressing for an interview with Trump.

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In addition to Healey, the document was signed by 17 other attorneys generals from New York, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, California, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington state, Virginia, New Mexico and Maryland.

Those would be half-measures and insurance policies to limit damage.

He also said on CNN a year ago that he could see a scenario in which Sessions' replacement doesn't fire Mueller but "just reduces his budget to so low that his investigation grinds to nearly a halt".

There's some doubt about whether the president is right, but with the mid-terms behind him he could be itching to settle this Mueller business once and for all. But the former federal prosecutor went from being one of Trump's closest campaign advisers to an outcast.

That nearly certainly wouldn't be the end of this story, but it's the beginning of a new, fraught chapter.

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