Whitaker appointment brings praise and protest in Iowa

Janice Rogers Brown

Republicans lost the House of Representatives but strengthened their hold on the Senate Tuesday, giving Trump the votes he needs to confirm a successor.

But before joining the Justice Department as Sessions' chief of staff, Whitaker appeared on CNN where he said the attorney general has the power to cut Mueller's budget and bring the investigation to a halt. Whitaker has criticized the probe in the past as too wide-ranging, a view that raised concerns among Democrats that Sessions' ouster and Whitaker's appointment might be a precursor to Trump moving to end it.

Nadler called Whitaker "a complete political lackey" who is 'a real threat to the integrity of that investigation'.

Schiff was among the members of the House and Senate leadership signing onto a letter demanding Whitaker's recusal from the Mueller probe.

Donald Trump fired attorney general Jeff Sessions on Wednesday and appointed Whitaker, a former USA attorney from Iowa and Sessions' chief of staff, to be acting attorney general - a move Democrats called illegal.

Whitaker was a vocal critic of the investigation prior to his appointment. He also tweeted an ex-prosecutor's opinion piece that described a "Mueller lynch mob" and said it was "worth a read".

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI had opened a criminal investigation into World Patent Marketing, publishing an email that one victim of the company had received from a victim specialist for the bureau.

Fourth, and most important, Whitaker has to accept the responsibility to defend the Department of Justice and its interests, rather than undermine them. "Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russian Federation 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing", he thundered.

In his new role, Whitaker will oversee special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

Legal scholars are debating the constitutionality of his appointment. The company admitted no wrongdoing and Whitaker was not personally named in the Federal Trade Commission investigation. That visit was followed by one by Beck Bennett's Vice President Mike Pence, who was very anxious by Sessions' mentions of gays, even though he said he hated them just like Trump wanted.

Mr Sessions' removal paved the way for Mr Whitaker to take over the oversight of Mr Mueller's investigation from Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mr Mueller in May 2017 after Mr Sessions recused himself from the probe. "I feel certain he will make an outstanding Acting Attorney General!"

In Kentucky, meanwhile, McConnell said he expects Trump to nominate a new permanent attorney general "pretty quickly".

Schumer declined to say whether Democrats would be willing to force a government shutdown if Congress did not pass a measure protecting Mueller, suggesting it wouldn't come to that because of bipartisan support. "The only qualifications seems to be that the president wants him to be a hatchet man to destroy Mueller's investigation". Trump didn't hide his disappointment with Sessions' decision.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is said to be a candidate, along with Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, among others.

Several news reports cited "sources familiar" with the visit or "sources close to" the White House who say that Christie is under consideration for the position.

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