Published: Fri, November 09, 2018

Jeff Sessions forced out after months of Trump abuse over Mueller probe

Jeff Sessions forced out after months of Trump abuse over Mueller probe

The forced resignation of beleaguered US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday (Nov 7) has cast doubts over the fate of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether Russian Federation had interfered in the 2016 presidential election, even as Democrats rallied to protect the probe.

The move Wednesday has potentially ominous implications for special counsel Robert Mueller's probe given that the new acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, until now Sessions' chief of staff, has questioned the inquiry's scope and spoke publicly before joining the Justice Department about ways an attorney general could theoretically stymie the investigation. Schumer and Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who is likely to become House speaker next year, called on Whitaker to recuse himself, with Schumer citing "his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation". Though Sessions was an early and prominent campaign backer of Trump, his departure letter lacked effusive praise for the president and made clear the resignation came "at your request". "If you had told me when I was starting out as a young Assistant United States Attorney that I would ever serve as Attorney General, I don't think I would have believed you".

She said the investigation into alleged Russian Federation collusion has been winding down for weeks prior to Sessions stepping down.

The special counsel regulation under which Mr Mueller was appointed gives the attorney general or acting attorney general authority to fire Mueller only for "good cause", such as misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity or conflict of interest. "He would have to trump up some charges", Mr Ohlin said.

It was Clovis, no stranger to TV and radio himself, who encouraged Whitaker to get a regular commentary gig on cable television to get President Donald Trump's attention, according to friends who Whitaker told at the time. Last month, he claimed Trump jokingly asked if he wanted it. He was a vocal critic of Mr Mueller, arguing in an op-ed for CNN previous year that the probe should not go into the finances of Mr Trump and his family members. And the department is expected to receive a confidential report of Mueller's findings, though it's unclear how much will be public.

Counselor to President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway, is interviewed on television at the White House's North Lawn in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.

Margaret Talev, senior White House correspondent for Bloomberg News. Trump is also mulling Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who is on her way out of office, as well as Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former Attorney General William Barr, who served in President George H.W. Bush's administration.

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