Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Could Trump sink the Russian Federation collusion probe?

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Resigns Trump ousts U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announces interim replacement
Steven Clarke | 09 November, 2018, 03:26

Trump fired Sessions on Wednesday and announced that Matthew Whitaker, who was Sessions' chief of staff, will take over as acting attorney general.

As Whitaker takes the reins at the DOJ for now, the candidate search for a permanent replacement is said to include former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who is leaving due to term limits, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

There have been close relationships between the attorneys general and the White House before, but, at the end of the day, we need to have confidence that the integrity of our - particularly our criminal investigations, who's targeted, what type of evidence is collected, how it's collected is not directed for political purposes. In an August 2017 op-ed for CNN, he argued that the scope should be narrowed only to direct interactions between Trump's presidential campaign and Russian Federation, and not include anything pertaining to Trump's business interests or finances.

Whitaker has made no public comment since being named, but he has previously shown distinct scepticism about the probe, including calling for its scope to be curtailed.

Mr Trump said: "According to NBC News, Voters Nationwide Disapprove of the so-called Mueller Investigation (46%) more than they Approve (41%)".

Whitaker has, however, argued for limitations on the investigation.

She went on to argue that, "given his record of threats to undermine and weaken the Russian Federation investigation", Mr Whitaker should follow in Mr Sessions' footsteps and recuse himself.

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Under government ethics regulation, federal employees are required to recuse themselves from matters where their impartiality could reasonably be questioned.

Sessions, a Republican and former Alabama senator, has been the focus of public attacks by Trump, who criticized him for recusing himself from the Russian Federation investigation because of his role on the Trump campaign team before becoming attorney general. Mitt Romney, who just won election to the U.S. Senate from Utah, also tweeted that the Mueller probe should be allowed to proceed "to its conclusion unimpeded". "That clearly creates an imperative for recusal by him and if not, action by the Congress". "But we're always ready to rise up and defend the rule of law".

Issuing a preemptive warning to an administration that has repeatedly lied about its policies, withheld financial disclosures, and challenged the probe of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller into alleged 2016 election meddling, the incoming House Judiciary Committee chair on Thursday ordered the Trump administration to preserve all documents related to former Attorney General Jeff Session's forced resignation.

Would he would fire special counsel Robert Mueller?

And I think that's what's critical. "He would have to trump up some charges", Mr Ohlin said.

Could a Mueller firing be challenged on legal grounds? The law was meant to address vacancies created by deaths or resignations, but it is not clear it also applies to those created by firings.

Yet when Sessions got the boot on Wednesday ― his letter said he resigned at the president's request ― Graham offered a different message.

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Trump considering Christie, Bondi for attorney general Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, had served as Sessions's chief-of-staff since September 2017. He is a longtime friend of Trump and endorsed him after dropping out of the 2016 presidential campaign.

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