A Warning From Democrats to Trump

Sarah N. Lynch

 

This is an excerpt of an article from Reuters. Read the rest here.

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The ouster of Attorney General Jeff Sessions by President Donald Trump on Wednesday drew sharp criticism from Democrats, who warned Trump against moving to quash a probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

 

The probe, led by special counsel Robert Mueller under the supervision of the Justice Department, has clouded the Trump presidency. The president had long complained about Sessions recusing himself from supervising Mueller.

 

Democrats raised concerns about Sessions’s acting replacement, Matthew Whitaker, who now oversees Mueller and once argued Mueller’s probe was going too far. They also questioned whether the removal of the top U.S. law enforcement officer was an attempt to undermine or end the investigation.

 

“Congress must take bipartisan action to protect the integrity of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation,” said Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives, hours after Democrats won a House majority in Tuesday’s elections.

 

If Sessions’s departure was an “opening move” by Trump to meddle in Mueller’s investigation, Hoyer said in a statement, “the president must be held accountable.”

 

Asked if Whitaker would now oversee Mueller, a Justice Department spokeswoman said: “The acting attorney general is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice.”

 

A spokesman for Mueller’s office declined to comment on Sessions’s departure. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Reuters on Tuesday that he assumed it was “not going to affect” the Mueller investigation.

 

Justice Department rules on special counsels set boundaries on how Mueller could be removed. Under those rules, he could only be discharged for good cause, such as misconduct or dereliction of duty, such as violating department policy.

 

Mueller is investigating if Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia, and whether Trump unlawfully tried to obstruct the probe, along with possible financial misconduct by Trump’s family and associates.

 

The special counsel has brought charges against Trump’s former campaign chairman and other campaign figures, along with 25 Russians and three firms accused of meddling in the campaign to help Trump win.

 

Trump has denied his campaign colluded with Russia.

 

 

Recusal Demand

 

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. Whitaker was previously Sessions’ chief of staff.

 

Sessions said in a letter to Trump that he had resigned at the president’s request.

 

Some Democrats quickly demanded that Whitaker should recuse himself from supervising Mueller, as Sessions did because Whitaker wrote an opinion piece for CNN in August 2017 that argued Mueller had too much latitude in his investigation.

 

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Writing by Kevin Drawbaugh and John Whitesides; Editing by Will Dunham and Peter Cooney.

 

This is an excerpt of an article from Reuters. Read the rest here.

 

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