With the midterms over, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is believed to be preparing fresh indictments against Trump campaign figures, possibly including his son Donald Trump Jr. and a former campaign consultant Roger Stone, and could press for the president himself to answer questions.
But before joining the Justice Department as Sessions' chief of staff, Whitaker appeared on CNN where he said the attorney general has the power to cut Mueller's budget and bring the investigation to a halt. It's possible he'll still play a role in the Mueller investigation, but the Justice Department made clear Wednesday that Whitaker "is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice". He accused it of overreach.
Another name said to be on the shortlist is that of Janice Rogers Brown, a retired federal appeals court judge who also served on the California Supreme Court and was a past colleague of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Congressional Democrats, concerned about protecting Mueller, called on Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation in its final but potentially explosive stages.
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The switch, announced on Trump's Twitter feed, provoked consternation across Washington, where politicians from both sides of the aisle have long warned that political interference in Mueller's work can not be tolerated. "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". The group also urged people to pressure Congress to protect the Mueller investigation. "I think the president understands that it's best for Bob Mueller to finish his investigation".More news: These Women Made History in the Midterms
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The requirement that Whitaker notify Congress if he blocks Mueller from doing something is "about political accountability, not legal accountability", Rosenzweig said.
"He worships him", a longtime friend said of Whitaker and Trump. "I just know what I've read and that he was critical in the past of the special counsel's investigations, which obviously raises concerns", King said.
A look at the responsibilities of the Justice Department's top two leaders and the special counsel running the department's most consequential and politically sensitive investigation.
Donald Trump emerged from midterm elections promising cooperation only to plunge Washington into turmoil on Thursday (Nov 8) over suspicions that he's trying to kill the Russian Federation collusion probe and an extraordinary intensification of his war with journalists. 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.
He managed a Senate campaign for Sam Clovis in Iowa, who later was nominated to join the Trump administration, ran Iowa for Trump, and was interviewed by Mueller's investigators.
He said that other former Trump associates Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg are all cooperating with the government, and that the "public needs to see the results" of the probe.