Protesters Across US Warn Trump Against Derailing Mueller Probe

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Staff applauded as Mr Sessions left the Department of Justice

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Staff applauded as Mr Sessions left the Department of Justice

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pushed out after enduring more than a year of blistering and personal attacks from President Donald Trump, who inserted in his place a Republican Party loyalist with authority to oversee the remainder of the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation.

Both Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and the expected House majority leader, Nancy Pelosi, want Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation.

Mueller is investigating Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 election and any collusion by Trump's campaign.

He said he knows little about Whitaker, other than his portrayal as a staunch "Trump loyalist".

Never in modern history has a president attacked a Cabinet member as frequently and harshly in public as Trump did Sessions, a former USA senator from Alabama and one of the first members of Congress to back Trump's presidential campaign in 2015. The president has verbally dismissed the Mueller probe, calling it a "witch-hunt" into his legitimacy in the White House. "I'm concerned Rod Rosenstein will no longer be overseeing the probe".

In a CNN op-ed previous year, Whitaker wrote, "Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russian Federation 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing".

Matt Whitaker has been named acting US attorney general following the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"We're here because Trump replaced Sessions and installed someone who will do his bidding, who has voiced his hostility to the Bob Mueller investigation", said Mary Melancon, 75, of Tampa.

Thanking Sessions for his service, Romney said that it was "imperative that the important work of the Justice Department continues, and that the Mueller investigation proceeds to its conclusion unimpeded".

Midterm election a ‘big day’ for Republicans
Democrats also underperformed in districts that were considered fertile territory for the party. That's one reason why it's so hard to settle on a single narrative about what happened.

Spats between Trump and journalists can sometimes seem circus-like, but critics say the president's hot temper illustrates his deeper disdain for Washington norms - and allegedly for the law.

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.

"Essentially we need to shame him into acting in compliance with the law", she said.

White House emphasizes continuity and not disruption with Sessions' resignation.

But there has also been speculation Mr Trump could try to kill or suppress the 18 month-old probe, pressing his view that Mr Mueller leads a team staffed by Democrats operating under an illegal mandate. "There is no mistaking what this means, and what is at stake: this is a constitutionally perilous moment for our country and for the president".

Professor Scott Lucas of the University of Birmingham described the situation as "unprecedented" but said the Democrats would likely have a plan in place should Trump make a move on Mueller through the acting attorney general or a future appointment. "By forcing the firing (of) the attorney general, the president now threatens the rule of law itself".

CNN reports that Christie is not believed to have met with the president Thursday.

Over the course of his investigation thus far, Mueller and his team of prosecutors indicted 32 individuals and three Russian businesses on charges ranging from computer hacking to conspiracy and financial crimes.

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