Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Protests to protect Robert Mueller planned nationwide after Jeff Sessions firing

Protests to protect Robert Mueller planned nationwide after Jeff Sessions firing

Trump has gone after the Justice Department and Sessions over the ongoing investigation into ties between the Trump election campaign and Russian Federation by special counsel Robert Mueller. Democrats are particularly interested in how Whitaker will oversee the Mueller probe, given his past comments questioning the scope of the investigation.

The Kremlin has called the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election a "headache" for US authorities but has declined to comment on the departure of Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Sessions had held on to his job as the nation's top law enforcement officer despite frequent bursts of embarrassingly public criticism from Trump. 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.

Sessions then had his letter, which was undated, delivered to the White House.

The swift firing may have also been a way for Mr Trump to get ahead of any efforts from the newly-empowered Democrats to reopen the House intelligence committee's investigation into ties between Mr Trump's campaign team and Russian Federation.

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".

Christie, a former United States attorney, could face similar calls to the ones Sessions faced to recuse himself from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation given his role as a prominent 2016 campaign surrogate for Trump.

The Justice Department has declined to answer whether ethics officials have been asked to review if Whitaker should recuse himself from the Mueller probe.

"Sessions did not do the thing he could have done to better protect Rosenstein, and through Rosenstein, the Mueller investigation", Vladeck said. Nadler and other Democrats on the committee suggested the shakeup appears to be an effort to alter oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe in a way that favors the president. The New York Democrat says it would spark a "constitutional crisis" if Trump forced out Sessions as a "prelude" to ending or limiting Mueller's investigation.

Mr Trump appointed Matthew Whitaker, formerly Mr Sessions' chief of staff, as acting attorney general under the US Vacancies Reform Act, which lays out general rules for temporarily filling vacant executive branch positions.

In February 2016, Sessions became the first sitting senator to endorse Trump's presidential campaign, and in the months leading up to the election, he became one of the candidate's closest national security advisers.

The broadsides escalated in recent months, with Trump telling an interviewer that Sessions "never had control" of the Justice Department.

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