Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Can the new United States attorney general shut down the Mueller probe?

Can the new United States attorney general shut down the Mueller probe?

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.

A furious US President Donald Trump on Wednesday fired his attorney general Jeff Sessions and threatened to retaliate with a "warlike posture" against the new Democratic House majority if it uses its subpoena power to launch investigations into his administration, signaling a precipitous deterioration in the domestic politics of the world's leading democracy.

As Sessions' deputy, Rod Rosenstein has been the authority over Mueller's probe, but multiple media outlets are reporting that he has officially been removed from oversight of the investigation.

People in North Alabama will join others nationwide on Thursday to protest former Attorney General Jeff Sessions' forced resignation.

Mitt Romney, the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nominee who won the Utah race on Tuesday to become a U.S. senator, also said Mueller's probe should not be affected by Sessions' dismissal.

The Democrats said they also want the Justice Department to protect the integrity of Mueller's investigation and to preserve relevant documents.

Democrats also raised concerns about the appointment of Whitaker, 49, who will now oversee Mueller's probe.

It wasn't clear immediately why Trump chose the hours after midterm results to fire Sessions.

The former FBI director has been working with a team of prosecutors and agents for the past year and a half to investigate whether the Trump campaign illegally coordinated with Russian Federation to tip the 2016 election, and whether Trump tried to obstruct that investigation.

"I just don't understand it because why invite this kind of criticism or scrutiny which you knew it was going to come because of the comments he's made earlier", said Gonzales.

To this point, Trump has heeded advice not to directly interfere, though a new chapter in the relationship with the probe may have begun with the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as new acting attorney general.

"We're a co-equal branch in the government, and we have a responsibility to understand what happened in 2016 and to prevent it from ever happening again", King said.

Sessions recused himself from managing the investigation because of his own past involvement in the Trump campaign. 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.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT also criticized Whitaker's appointment.

The special counsel has also been investigating whether Mr Comey's firing amounted to obstruction of justice.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who months ago warned Trump against firing Sessions, met with the President Thursday and said he had "confidence" Whitaker would do a professional job 'in this position'.

After recusing himself from the Russian Federation probe, the staunchly conservative Sessions spent his time ramping up efforts to combat violent gangs, drug use and illegal immigration - all key components of Trump's law-and-order agenda. As CBS News has reported, chief of staff John Kelly called Sessions shortly before a presidential press conference on Wednesday and asked him to resign. Tuesday's outcome effectively kickstarted the 2020 Presidential campaign in a country that is on a perpetual election cycle.

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