Can Trump block the Mueller probe?

Hugh Fox
November 9, 2018

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.

In a Twitter message, the medium he often uses for dismissing subordinates, Trump said he had replaced Sessions with Whitaker, who will be acting attorney general.

The announcement, which came in a tweet, comes after months of speculation that Sessions could be on his way out after recusing himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.

Early indications are that Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself from oversight over the Mueller probe, thereby shifting oversight away from the controversial Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

According to the Washington Post, Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself, putting the two sides on collision course should the acting attorney general interfere with the Mueller probe. "That's why Cabinet Secretaries have Deputies".

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That left Rosenstein overseeing the investigation, and he named Mueller as special counsel.

He has said that Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted for her email scandal as secretary of state and that Trump made the right call in firing FBI Director James Comey. "Cox clashed with the White House over Nixon's refusal to release Oval Office recordings, some of which implicated the president in the (Watergate hotel) break-in".

He also worked on an earlier campaign in Iowa for one of Trump's presidential campaign leaders, Sam Clovis, who has figured in the Russian Federation investigation.

The document goes on to discuss Whitaker's past comments about the Mueller investigation and adds that, in their capacity as prosecutors and law enforcement officials, the group feels "that the independent Special Counsel must have the full authority to investigate and, if warranted, prosecute any violations of federal law".

Rosenstein has several severe conflicts of interest when it comes to the Mueller probe and the Obama administration's "spygate" efforts against President Trump and his associates.

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As attorney general, and earlier as White House counsel, he faced criticism for drafting controversial rules for military war tribunals, seeking to limit the legal rights of detainees at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Sessions, 71, said in an undated letter to Trump: "At your request, I am submitting my resignation".

Democrats voiced fears the removal of the top United States law enforcement officer may be an attempt to undermine or end the investigation. Chuck Grassley, now chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Counselor to President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway, is interviewed on television at the White House's North Lawn in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.

Bondi's spokesman declined to say whether she is under consideration for the top Justice Department job. Trump wrote. "A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date".

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By Thursday morning, more than 1,000 people said on a Facebook page for the event that they planned to attend, and more than 3,200 said they were interested.

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