Demonstrators protest Trump's latest move in Mueller probe

Cheryl Sanders
November 9, 2018

Cummings, whose role on the key oversight committee puts him in a unique position to investigate Sessions' departure, said in a statement Wednesday that "Congress must now investigate the real reason for this termination, confirm that Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is recused from all aspects of the Special Counsel's probe, and ensure that the Department of Justice safeguards the integrity of the Mueller investigation".

Speculation is mounting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller could soon resume issuing subpoenas and indictments, with one report claiming that Donald Trump Jr fears he could be indicted as soon as this week.

That duty has belonged to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and closely monitors his work. Previously he was a conservative legal commentator who was critical of the scope of Mueller's probe.

Schumer, in a separate press conference with reporters, warned that attempts by Sessions's successor or Trump to interfere with the investigation would spark a "constitutional crisis".

"These are occurring as a way of expressing our concern about the actions President Trump took yesterday", said Ron Roe, an organizer.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions stand for the national anthem at a graduation ceremony at the FBI Academy on the grounds of Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, U.S. December 15, 2017. He tweeted that "we will be holding people accountable".

Whitaker was a hard-charging top aide to Sessions, imposing on the Justice Department his personal philosophy of starting with the end in mind. It's not clear whether his connections to Sam Clovis, who if friends with Whitaker and has been questioned in the Mueller probe, and with the president would be enough to force his recusal.

Nadler says he wants to know why Trump is making the change and "who has authority over Special Counsel Mueller's investigation?"

The de facto firing, which came a day after Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, raised fears that President Donald Trump may be stepping up efforts to shut down the Russian Federation investigation that has dogged his presidency for months.

When Democrats assume control of House committees next year, they will direct everything from the subject matter of investigations to the timing and substance of committee hearings.

The ouster of Sessions ended a partnership that soured nearly from the start of the administration and degenerated into one of the most acrimonious public standoffs between a commander-in-chief and a senior Cabinet member in modern U.S. history.

Trump repeatedly lamented that he would have never selected Sessions if he had known the attorney general would recuse himself. The undated letter was then sent to the White House. "Dear Mr. President, at your request I am submitting my resignation", he wrote. "By forcing the firing (of) the attorney general, the president now threatens the rule of law itself".

Trump announced the resignation and Whitaker's assignment on Twitter.

He wrote previous year on that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should limit the scope of Mueller's investigation to stop him from delving into Trump's finances. "A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date". For more than a year-and-a-half, Sessions was subjected to criticisms and personal attacks from the president after he recused himself from the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation. So it came as little surprise when Sessions' resigned the day after the midterms were over.

Protesters' demands include having Whitaker recuse himself from overseeing Mueller's investigation, and for Congress to protect the probe with legislation.

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