Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Mueller writing final report on Russian Federation probe, submission timeline unclear

MICHAEL REYNOLDS  CNP  AdMedia  Newscom MICHAEL REYNOLDS CNP AdMedia Newscom
Steven Clarke | 09 November, 2018, 06:31

More than a dozen USA state attorneys general signed a document Thursday calling for Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the Russian Federation investigation, a role he assumed following his temporary appointment following the resignation of Jeff Sessions.

Clovis, the 2016 Trump campaign national co-chairman, said in a May radio interview that he has been interviewed by the special counsel's team and had testified before the Mueller grand jury.

Trump saw the move as a betrayal and frequently and publicly criticised Sessions for making the decision to recuse himself.

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

"The forced firing of Attorney General Sessions appears to be part of an ongoing pattern of behavior by the president seeking to undermine (the) investigation into Russian interference", said the letter to Goodlatte, written by Representative Jerrold Nadler, the committee's top Democrat, and 16 other Democrats who sit on the panel.

Mueller is said to be in the process of writing his "final report", which is sure to be incredibly hostile to the Trump administration and people close to the president.

Before joining the Justice Department, Whitaker was openly critical of the Mueller investigation.

Several contenders are reportedly under consideration to replace Sessions, such as Mr. Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

China debuts the world's first AI news presenter
It appears that photo-like facial features have been applied to a body template and animated. He explained: "It's quite hard to watch for more than a few minutes.

The protests come a day after Trump fired Sessions, who had angered the president by recusing himself from the Mueller investigation.

Some senior Republicans, such as former presidential candidate and Utah Senator-elect Mitt Romney, have urged Whitaker to allow the Mueller investigation to run unimpeded.

Spats between Trump and journalists can sometimes seem circus-like, but critics say the president's hot temper illustrates his deeper disdain for Washington norms - and allegedly for the law.

MoveOn is also heading a petition asking legislatures to protect the investigation, which had reached more than 475,000 signatures as of Thursday evening.

Before Trump gave a news conference on Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called Sessions and told him that Trump wanted him out, the official said.

"Trump's actions are being compared with those of U.S. President Richard Nixon in one of the most controversial episodes of the Watergate scandal, the Saturday Night Massacre", said organizers.

In July 2017, he said during an interview on CNN that he could envision a scenario under which a temporary attorney general doesn't fire Mueller but rather "just reduces his budget to so low that his investigations grinds to nearly a halt". "Trump's attempt to be his own judge and jury is inconsistent with the rule of law and democracy".

On the heels of this, CNN is reporting Thursday that the special counsel has begun writing the final Russian Federation report. Another person said that remained true ever after Whitaker took his place.

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