Published: Fri, November 09, 2018

Whitaker’s recusal from Mueller’s Russian Federation investigation requested by 18 state AGs

Whitaker’s recusal from Mueller’s Russian Federation investigation requested by 18 state AGs

Whitaker was virtually unknown to Sessions before becoming his chief of staff.

The bulk of Whitaker's relevant experience came when he served as USA attorney for the Southern District of Iowa from 2004 until 2009, a position for which he was recommended by Iowa Republican Sen.

Matthew Whitaker is replacing his former boss, Jeff Sessions.

As reason for his recusal, Sessions cited news reports of two undisclosed meetings he had with Sergey Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador to Washington.

Trump blamed the recusal for the appointment of Mueller, who took over the Russian Federation investigation two months later and began examining whether Trump's hectoring of Sessions was part of a broader effort to obstruct the probe. The almost year and a half long investigation by the special counsel stems from allegations of Russian Federation coordinating with members of the Trump presidential campaign.

Reports claim that Special Counsel Mueller has begun writing his final report.

David Bosel, a retired political scientist, described Trump's attempts to scupper the Mueller investigation as "dictatorial" and accused most Republicans in Congress of helping Trump tilt the United States towards "fascism".

Sen. Chuck Schumer of NY said in a statement that Whitaker should recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe in light of "his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation".

Through his CNN role, where he was deeply critical of the Mueller probe, Whitaker got to know Trump, who saw him on TV and later met in person.

Instead, the congressman said, the fact Sessions "followed the rules and simply was not involved at all in overseeing the Mueller probe was grounds for this rather long-awaited firing, and all of the public berating that went along with it".

The Justice Department did not directly answer whether Whitaker would assume control of Mueller's investigation, with spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores saying he would be "in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice".

"I think if you were to ask anyone with DOJ experience they would say 'Huh?"

The document was released on Twitter by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who tweeted that Whitaker "recuse himself immediately".

Republicans, however, have been mostly silent. Republican Senator Susan Collins of ME criticized Trump for stripping Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of his role overseeing the probe. "I could fire everybody right now, but I don't want to stop it because politically I don't like stopping it", Trump said at a stormy White House press conference that was even more tempestuous than the standard he has set. He earned $402,000 in 2016, the group's tax filing shows.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell blocked consideration of the Senate bill earlier this year. He served as state chairman during the 2012 election cycle for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's campaign. In either (or both cases), Trump appeared to take the relatively modest losses in the mid-term polls, supplemented by gains in the Senate, as a signal to further consolidate his position, premised on his view (and that of his supporters) that the President is all-powerful and can do no wrong in the originalist interpretation of the US Constitution. He majored in communications studies as an undergraduate and was interested in broadcasting and film production.

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