"Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election”, Acting AG, Bush, Coup d'Etat, democracy, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, Dictatorship, FBI, Firing of Jeff Sessions, firing Special Counsel Mueller, Football, Iowa, Jeff Sessions, John Q Barrett, Justice Department, Matt Whitaker, Mueller, Mueller investigation, Putin, recess appointment, recusal, Rod Rosenstein, Roger Stone, Russia, Russia investigation, Russian investigation, Special Counsel, Trump, Trump Russia, US Department of Justice
AG Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the Russia investigation, so Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein has been overseeing Mueller’s investigation of Trump-Russia. The firing of Jeff Sessions means that the new acting AG, Matt Whitaker, will take oversight away from Rosenstein (unless Whitaker can be made to recuse himself or Mueller is already done with his work). See: “How Sessions’s Firing Could Affect the Russia Investigation“. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/07/us/politics/mueller-investigation-sessions-resigns.html
US Congressman Nadler Grilling Jeff Sessions on 14 Nov 2017. That looks like Whitaker to the right. He looks like a thuggish body-guard. Mrs. Sessions is to the left.
More trash from the Bush administration. Recall that Roger Stone worked to stop the Florida recount or Al Gore might have become President, instead of Bush.
At 1.31 min https://youtu.be/qesbR77vJsI we see Jeff Sessions’ replacement Whitaker saying on CNN (July 2017) that he can imagine Jeff Sessions being replaced during a Congressional recess (recess appointment) and that the acting AG (now Whitaker) not fire Mueller but reduce the budget so low that the investigation grounds to a halt! However, by November 2018, Mueller may not need any more budget for investigations, especially after Jeff Sessions flips on Trump to cover his own rear-end. How long will it take for Mueller to interview Sessions? Mueller investigation appears to overlap Europol investigations, as well – one more reason that Mueller may not need more budget.
From VOA News:
“Acting Attorney General Whitaker Criticized Mueller Probe
November 07, 2018 4:25 PM VOA News
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker had been the ousted Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff since October 2017.
Whitaker, 49, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and earned his law degree from the University of Iowa. He was also a college football star for the University of Iowa and played in the 1991 Rose Bowl.
Former President George W. Bush appointed him U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa in 2004.
He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in the 2014 Iowa Republican primary.
Whitaker could now oversee special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether Trump tried to obstruct justice.
Whitaker criticized the Mueller probe before joining the Justice Department last year. He appeared on CNN, saying the attorney general had the power to cut Mueller’s budget and halt the investigation.
He has also written that he believes the Mueller probe has gone too far and that Trump’s finances should be off limits to investigation by the special counsel.” https://www.voanews.com/a/acting-attorney-general-whitaker-criticized-mueller-probe/4648991.html
John Q Barrett on Whitaker:
From VOA News:
“Trump Forces Out Attorney General Jeff Sessions
November 08, 2018 1:52 AM, by Masood Farivar and Steve Herman
U.S. President Donald Trump forced his controversial Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign Wednesday, setting up a possible showdown with newly energized congressional Democrats over the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
Sessions, in a resignation letter to Trump, wrote that he was stepping down at “your request,” accepting a fait accompli he’d long sought to avert despite Trump’s repeated public humiliations of the attorney general over his recusal from oversight of the Russia probe.
The forced departure of Sessions, a former Republican senator and early supporter of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, capped a turbulent tenure that hit a rough patch in early 2017 when he stepped aside from the Russia investigation shortly after taking office.
Trump blamed Sessions’ recusal for the speedy appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and, over the course of the attorney general’s 20-month tenure, repeatedly castigated Sessions for failing to rein in what he called a “witch hunt” being led by Mueller and “17 Angry Democrats.”
While undertaking a wholesale repeal of Obama-era policies and implementing Trump’s tough-on-crime and immigration agenda, Sessions was increasingly shunned by the president, to the point that Trump told an interviewer earlier this year, “I don’t have an attorney general.”
In a pair of tweets Wednesday afternoon announcing Sessions’ resignation, Trump thanked the attorney general for his service and said Matt Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff and a former U.S. attorney under former President George W. Bush, would take over as acting attorney general. A permanent replacement would be announced later, Trump said.
Though long expected, Sessions’ departure fueled Democratic fears that Trump may be maneuvering to assert control over the Mueller investigation through a trusted appointee or possibly shut down it all together.
Congressional probe urged
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House oversight committee and a frequent Trump critic, urged Congress to investigate “the real reason” for the attorney general’s “termination.”
At a testy White House news conference earlier Wednesday, Trump said he could end the Mueller investigation “right now,” but “I stay away from it … I let it just go on.”
Other Democratic congressional leaders, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Mark Warner issued nearly identical tweets urging Whitaker to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, citing his vocal criticism of the probe.
“Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general,” Schumer tweeted.
Whitaker served as U.S. attorney for the southern district of Iowa from 2004 to 2009. According to his LinkedIn profile, he headed Foundations for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a self-described ethics watchdog, until September 2017, shortly before joining the Justice Department.
In an opinion piece for CNN.com in July 2017, two months after Mueller’s appointment, Whitaker wrote that he agreed with Trump that investigating the president’s finances fell outside Mueller’s mandate, and he urged Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to limit the special counsel’s authority.
‘In charge of all matters’
Asked whether Whitaker would take control of the Russia probe, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said, “The acting attorney general is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice.”
Flores did not directly answer questions about whether Whitaker had consulted or planned to consult Justice Department ethics experts on whether he should recuse himself from the Russia probe.
“We’re following regular order here,” she wrote via email.
John Malcolm, a former federal prosecutor now with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group, said he saw no reason for Whitaker to step aside.
“He is the acting attorney general. He has no reason to recuse himself,” Malcolm told VOA.
Malcolm said Sessions did “a solid job of implementing the president’s law enforcement priorities,” and he praised the attorney general for “protecting the integrity of the department and trying to keep it above politics.”
It remains to be seen whether Trump will tap Whitaker for the job permanently and send his name to the Senate for confirmation.
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and close Trump ally, tweeted that he looked “forward to working with President Trump to find a confirmable, worthy successor.” https://www.voanews.com/a/trump-forces-out-attorney-general-jeff-sessions/4649626.html
(Emphasis our own.)
US Senator “Feinstein on Firing of Jeff Sessions, Nov 07 2018
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions:
“By firing Attorney General Sessions, the president has made abundantly clear that he’ll take any action he can to undermine the Mueller investigation.
“Rod Rosenstein has been capably overseeing Robert Mueller’s work and should continue in that role. No one who lacks Senate confirmation should be placed in charge of this investigation, especially Matthew Whitaker who publically criticized Robert Mueller’s work just last year.
“Whitaker should come before the Senate Judiciary Committee as soon as possible and make a firm commitment not to interfere in the investigation, to include restricting the investigation or making changes in personnel. The special counsel’s work is critical and important. It must not be touched, abated or changed in any way.” https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=69777B58-41DB-4312-86E1-D5C22B8F6CD6
“Cummings Issues Statement on Removal of Attorney General Sessions
Nov 7, 2018 Press Release
Washington, D.C. (Nov. 7, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to conflicting reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned from his position or was fired by President Donald Trump:
“There are many, many reasons to remove Attorney General Sessions—from his failure to disclose his communications with the Russians to his inhumane policy of separating children from their parents at the border—but one reason that is not acceptable is to interfere with or obstruct the Mueller investigation. President Trump waited until just hours after the midterm elections to make this move, which had been rumored for months. Congress must now investigate the real reason for this termination, confirm that Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is recused from all aspects of the Special Counsel’s probe, and ensure that the Department of Justice safeguards the integrity of the Mueller investigation.”
Administration, Ethics and Transparency, National Security Issues, Russia