Thin ice for new acting AG? Trump says 'I don't know' him

Why no blue wave? Maybe because Democrats kept running away from own base

Why no blue wave? Maybe because Democrats kept running away from own base

In May, Matthew Whitaker, then the chief of staff to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, was reportedly counseling top DOJ officials on how to counter President Donald Trump's fervent demands to investigate the baseless claim that the Federal Bureau of Investigation "infiltrated or surveilled" his 2016 presidential campaign.

It isn't hard to detect the irony of an argument that this disqualifies Whitaker from overseeing Mueller, given Mueller's friendship and past professional relationship with James Comey, a central figure in the investigation.

"I support the Mueller investigation", Gardner said.

Whitaker, a former USA attorney from Iowa, was not hired and he continued to work as a political pundit for CNN. Trump, who blames that decision for the eventual appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, told "Fox and Friends" host Ainsley Earhardt that Sessions "never took control of the Justice Department and it's a sort of an incredible thing".

Whitaker has come under increasing scrutiny for openly criticizing Mueller's Russian Federation investigation in the past because he now has the power to hobble or halt the probe.

Whitaker's appointment has also prompted questions from Democrats about whether Trump brought him aboard to curtail or shut down the Mueller investigation, which is examining possible coordination between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation and potential obstruction of the probe by Trump.

But Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway dismissed concerns about Whitaker's past comments about the Mueller probe, saying "there's no evidence to me" that he "knows anything about the ongoing Mueller investigation".

"We Democrats, House and Senate, will attempt to add to must-pass legislation, in this case the spending bill, legislation that would prevent Mr. Whitaker from interfering with the Mueller investigation" should Whitaker not recuse, Schumer told CNN's Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union". Whitaker's tweets are now hidden from public view.

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The general consensus seems to be that Sessions was sacked, rather than that he resigned. "Matt Whitaker worked for Jeff Sessions, and he was always extremely highly thought of, and still is, but I didn't know Matt Whitaker".

Matt Whitaker participates in a round table event at the Department of Justice on August 29, 2018 in Washington, D.C. With him was the man who had begun the day as Sessions' chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, who concluded it as the top legal and law enforcement officer of the United States of America.

Sessions has made clear to associates that he has no intention of leaving his job voluntarily despite Trump's constant criticism. He said that while he's attorney general the department "will not be improperly influenced by political considerations".

In the wake of the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is standing firmly against President Donald Trump's appointment of his replacement, slamming the move as an assault to the Constitution.

The Washington Post reported this week that one of the reasons Trump liked Whitaker was because Whitaker had briefed him on many occasions because the president preferred not to talk to Sessions, whom he had often disparaged publicly. Lindsey Graham, who co-sponsored a bill to protect Mueller, said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that he was confident Whitaker would not quash the investigation. In general, though, I think it is appropriate for the Acting Attorney General to have a say on such issues, particularly when they raise important constitutional issues, the resolution conceivably could produce a constitutional crisis.

Democrats also have argued that Whitaker's appointment is unconstitutional - a matter Nadler said "very well may be tested in court". Actually, if Trump's goal was to get rid of Mueller, it would have been much smarter to do this months ago, when a much more pliant Congress would have been less interested in objecting.

"No I don't, and don't just take it from me", she said.

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