Trump installed Matt Whitaker, chief of staff at the Justice Department, as acting attorney general and put him in charge of the Russian Federation probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to a US official.
The move Wednesday has potentially ominous implications for special counsel Robert Mueller's probe given that the new acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, until now Sessions' chief of staff, has questioned the inquiry's scope and spoke publicly before joining the Justice Department about ways an attorney general could theoretically stymie the investigation.
Overseeing it all is Whitaker, a former college football player and United States attorney from Iowa who was brought into the Justice Department past year to serve as Sessions' chief of staff. "For months now I've been saying, after the election, if the president wants to change attorney generals (sic), he has every right to do so".
First of all, let's drop the fiction that if Sessions hadn't been fired, the Democratic subpoena assault wouldn't have happened.
House Democrats said on Wednesday that they would attempt to include a measure protecting Mueller into an appropriations bill that Congress is due to consider later this year.
Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, said Trump's replacement of Sessions with Whitaker was arguably an impeachable offense in itself.
"The president wanted to take action as quickly as possible in the Mueller investigation, " said Sen. And a source close to the President told CNN that the idea of Whitaker ending or suppressing the Russian Federation probe is not an option as of now.
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"Why is the President making this change and who has authority over Special Counsel Mueller's investigation?" Whitaker was a vocal critic of the investigation prior to his appointment. 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.
"I'm concerned that Whitaker is going to try to find a way to sabotage the investigation", she said.
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 USA presidential election.
In 2017 he even used Trump's words, warning against Mueller engaging in a "witch hunt".
On Thursday, the Acosta incident entered even more freakish territory when the White House was accused of tweeting a video doctored to make the reporter appear more aggressive in fending off the female press aide who tried to remove his mic.
Just to review how we got here, last year, Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigations into the 2016 campaign. However, it would be an immediate priority for Democratic investigations when they officially take control of the House in January.
Sessions endured most of the name-calling in silence, though he did issue two public statements defending the department, including one in which he said he would serve "with integrity and honor" for as long as he was in the job.
That left Rosenstein overseeing the investigation, and he named Mueller as special counsel.