Democrats seek emergency hearings on Trump’s ouster of Jeff Sessions

Blanche Robertson
November 9, 2018

After President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions Wednesday, tapping Chief of Staff Matthew Whitaker to take his place, protesters descended upon cities across the country to defend Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sacked by Donald Trump Wednesday, casting a cloud over the Russian Federation investigation that has dogged the White House, a day after Republicans lost control over the lower house of Congress.

Sessions was the first casualty of a cabinet shakeup that had been expected from Trump following the midterm elections.

Democrats warned against interference in the probe. One associate, Jerome Corsi, said in a video recording Monday that he's "been involved in a really constant basis" for two months with Mueller's investigation.

In this April 24, 2014, file photo, then-Iowa Republican senatorial candidate and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker watches before a live televised debate in Johnston, Iowa. He replaced him- temporarily- with Mathew Whitaker, a loyalist who has criticized the Mueller investigation and wants to strangle it, and who is considered even more of a supplicant than Sessions, whose sycophancy in the face of Trump's fury and humiliating put-downs was not sufficient to save his job.

Nancy Pelosi, who leads Democrats in the House of Representatives, called the decision a "blatant attempt" to end or impede the investigation. Justice Department officials said that under normal circumstances, the deputy attorney general would likely play an active, hands-on role in overseeing such a high profile probe, and they had no reason to believe that Rosenstein would now be cut out. "Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein must be allowed to protect the Special Counsel and insulate the investigation from interference by the White House".

A Justice Department spokeswoman, asked if Mr Whitaker would now oversee Mueller, replied: "The acting attorney general is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice".

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Mueller declined to comment, according to his spokesman, Peter Carr. He added that it had "been a privilege" to work under Sessions.

The row, carried live on national TV networks, was followed by Trump issuing angry put-downs to several other reporters.

He also said the line of succession within the Justice Department does not include the chief of staff and the fact that someone in that position would be made acting attorney general is "very odd".

Most of Whitaker's career has been spent in private practice, including at a Des Moines law firm he founded with other Republican Party activists in 2009.

Earlier, at a White House news conference, Trump said the Mueller investigation was not good for the United States. Sessions said in a letter to Trump that he resigned at the president's request.

Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he's "profoundly concerned" that the new acting attorney general is someone who has criticized and publicly expressed skepticism about the Russian Federation investigation.

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. "There is no mistaking what this means, and what is at stake: this is a constitutionally perilous moment for our country and for the president".

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