Whitaker’s recusal from Mueller’s Russian Federation investigation requested by 18 state AGs

Hugh Fox
November 9, 2018

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resigned as the country's chief law enforcement officer at the request of President Donald Trump, throwing the future of the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation into uncertainty.

They also said they will continue to conduct parallel investigations alongside special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, and urging them to preserve all relevant documents.

Mitt Romney, the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nominee who won the Utah race on Tuesday to become a United States senator, also said Mueller's probe should not be affected by Sessions' dismissal.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has endured more than a year of criticism from Donald Trump over the Mueller inquiry.

Justice Department officials said his taking over for his boss was, at the very least, "awkward", because chiefs of staff typically leave with the attorney general.

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White House emphasizes continuity and not disruption with Sessions' resignation. An infuriated Trump responded by repeatedly and publicly seeking to humiliate Sessions. It is not clear if an in-person interview with the president will happen. Campaign efforts include ending the Iraq war and combatting gun violence by ending politicians' affiliation with the NRA, but since 2016 the organization says it has been "a pillar of the Resistance to Trump".

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

Whitaker is legally allowed to serve as acting attorney general for no more than 210 days under the Vacancies Reform Act but could be in the post longer while another individual's nomination is pending, according to the Times.

According to a September report from the New York Times, Whitaker was in line to replace U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein when Rosenstein was reportedly considering resigning.

If Whitaker made a decision to fire Mueller, he would need to inform the special counsel in writing of the specific reason for his termination.

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He said he was "not concerned about anything with the Russian investigation, because it is a hoax". The investigation is looking into USA allegations of Russian meddling in the election two years ago and any possible coordination between Russian and the Trump campaign, which the president denies.

Answering allegations that the White House had used a clip edited by a notorious right-wing conspiracy theorist, Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: "We stand by our statement".

He added that Trump's main problem with Jeff Sessions, whose resignation the president eventually demanded, was because the former senator had recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation, and not that he did "anything wrong or anything on immigration or national security or any other issue".

When Democrats assume control of House committees next year, they will direct everything from the subject matter of investigations to the timing and substance of committee hearings. Whitaker will oversee the Mueller investigation.

In 2017 he even used Trump's words, warning against Mueller engaging in a "witch hunt".

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

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