Protesters crowd into downtown Seattle to demand Russia investigation continue

Saul Bowman
November 10, 2018

But when Sessions' chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, leapfrogged over Rosenstein and was named acting attorney general in his boss' place Wednesday afternoon, questions immediately began to swirl about who Mueller would report to, whether Whitaker must recuse himself from the investigation given his fierce criticism of it, if Rosenstein would quit and whether Mueller's work will be curtailed.

"When this happened yesterday, people started mobilizing very quickly", said Margaret Foley, the communications director for Nasty Women Get Shit Done PDX.

Gonzales resigned as attorney general under a cloud of controversy and amid accusations that the Justice Department has been used for political purposes.

Before departing for Paris on Friday, President Donald Trump made a point of insisting he wasn't familiar with newly appointed acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

Walter Shaub, who was director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics for four years before resigning in July 2017, said the friendship between Whitaker and Clovis should disqualify Whitaker from supervising the Mueller investigation.

On Wednesday, Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, raising the possibility that Sessions' replacement - Matthew Whitaker - could seek to curtail Mueller's investigation.

Less than 24 hours after US midterm elections wrapped up, Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at the request of President Donald Trump.


A protester holds up a sign November 8 outside the Monroe County Courthouse during a protest against the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions by President Trump.

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 the Republicans, who were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

Trump has since appointed Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who protesters claim is a Trump "loyalist" who will stifle the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

That Donald Trump is now in a stronger position because a loyalist is ready to take the reins of the Mueller investigation. The investigation, led by special counsel Robert Mueller, has already netted multiple indictments and guilty pleas.

Even after he arrived at the Justice Department, Whitaker harbored frustration about the length of the special counsel probe and doubts about the scope of Mueller's authority, a person familiar with the matter said. 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.

People close to Christie say if he's offered the job he will consider it seriously.

McConnell, who sets the Senate's agenda, reiterated that legislation to protect Mueller from firing is unnecessary. After a testy exchange at the White House earlier this week, the administration took the unusual step of suspending the credentials of CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

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