Christie reportedly being considered to replace Sessions as attorney general

Arturo Kim
November 9, 2018

'Never before has a President designated an acting attorney general who had not previously been serving in a Senate-confirmed position, ' the group wrote in a letter to the Justice Department.

The White House is bracing for the probe of Donald Trump's presidential campaign to fire up again.

During an interview with Martha MacCallum just a day after the Attorney General's ouster, Sessions listened to a playback of his July 2017 comments in which he also said that "any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, unless Mueller did something wrong".

Whitaker is a former USA attorney from Iowa who founded a law firm with other Republican Party activists.

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

Trump told associates that he felt that Whitaker would be "loyal" and would not have recused himself from the Russian Federation probe as Sessions had done, according to two Republicans close to the White House not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

Instead, he gave Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein the authority to oversee the probe independently. "We are a democracy, we are all equal under the law". 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.

It would be a "very bad idea" for the president to disrupt the Mueller investigation, Toomey added.

Good cause is a hard thing to show, especially since Mueller's actions were approved by the deputy attorney general, said Jens Ohlin, a professor of criminal law at Cornell Law School.

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"I don't know anything about (Whitaker)".

Warner said there are others in Trump's orbit like Roger Stone - a former Nixon confidante and political consultant - who have a "swirl" around them.

Rosenstein no longer will oversee the special counsel investigation.

There is a growing sense of concern inside the White House over the negative reaction to Matthew Whitaker being tapped as acting attorney general after Jeff Sessions' abrupt firing. 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. A 2014 press release announcing Whitaker's hiring said the pair became "great friends" during Clovis' US Senate bid that preceded his run for state treasurer.

Once that happens, a Democratic majority could use subpoena power not only to pursue any avenues of investigation that are limited by Whitaker, but to probe why he took such steps.

Whitaker would be required to notify Congress of such a decision. 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.

The attorney general could also cut the budget for the special counsel's office.

He also said on CNN past year that he could see a scenario in which Sessions' replacement doesn't fire Mueller but "just reduces his budget to so low that his investigation grinds to nearly a halt". He has said he does not believe there is a need for Congress to pass legislation aimed at protecting the special counsel from termination. Officials there have said Whitaker will follow the regular procedure in handling any ethics issues that arise.

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