Acting attorney general gets cool reception from Trump

Russia Probe Protests

Russia Probe Protests

US Senate Democrats are considering legal action over President Donald Trump's appointment of a new acting attorney-general, congressional sources said on Friday, as some outside experts called Trump's move unconstitutional.

Just before leaving for Paris, where he will take part in events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Trump said he "didn't know" Whitaker but the former US attorney from Iowa was "highly thought of".

His remarks contradicted comments he made on Fox News last month when he said Whitaker was a "great guy" and "I mean, I know Matt Whitaker".

When asked if Whitaker was chosen to rein in the Russian Federation probe, Mr. Trump said, "What a stupid question that is".

Issuing a preemptive warning to an administration that has repeatedly lied about its policies, withheld financial disclosures, and challenged the probe of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller into alleged 2016 election meddling, the incoming House Judiciary Committee chair on Thursday ordered the Trump administration to preserve all documents related to former Attorney General Jeff Session's forced resignation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., predicted Friday that Trump will nominate a permanent attorney general "pretty quickly" and said Whitaker would be a "very interim AG".

Senate Democrats were pondering suing Trump, the sources said, on the grounds that, in naming Whitaker, the president ignored a statutory line of succession at the Justice Department and deprived senators of their constitutional "advice and consent" role on some presidential appointments. The Wall Street Journal on Friday published an email revealing an FBI investigation into the company, World Patent Marketing Inc.

World leaders mark WW1 Armistice centenary in Paris
The U.S. came late to the war, in April 1917, but over 1 1/2 years it became a key player and tipped the scales for the allies. More than 2,000 soldiers are buried at the World War I cemetery, many of whom died in the Battle of Belleau Wood.

But President Trump emphasised again that he did not know Mr Whitaker.

Whitaker himself stayed out of the public debate Friday.

In a cosigned letter, the attorneys general said that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe "must proceed free from interference". Likewise, as Chief, I did not know Mr. Whitaker except primarily as he traveled with A.G. Sessions.

"I am concerned about comments that Acting Attorney-General Matthew Whitaker has made regarding the Special Counsel and the parameters of his investigation", she said.

Rosenstein told reporters Friday that based on his experiences with Whitaker, "I think he's a superb choice for attorney general". "He's said repeatedly it's going to be allowed to finish".

"He was very, very highly thought of, and still is highly thought of, but this only comes up because anybody that works for me, they do a number on them", Trump said.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is said to be a candidate, along with Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, among others.

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