Trump Almost Hired Matthew Whitaker to Legally Attack Mueller

Fears for Russia probe as Trump fires Jeff Sessions

Trump Denies Knowing Attorney General He Met Over a Dozen Times

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is one of 18 Democratic state attorneys general who have written to acting US Attorney General Matt Whitaker calling for him to recuse himself from overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

That contradicted President Trump's remarks on Fox News last month, when he called Mr Whitaker "a great guy" and said, "I mean, I know Matt Whitaker".

"I think he's a superb choice for attorney general", Rosenstein told a small group of reporters gathered outside of an investiture ceremony for US Attorney Zachary Terwilliger in Alexandria, Virginia.

The timing of the firing in conjunction with the surprise Whitaker appointment smacks of a hinted high-level political coup not seen here since the notorious Saturday Night Massacre of 1974, when President Richard Nixon sought to shut off the Justice Department investigation into the Watergate scandal.

Trump meanwhile rejected Democratic calls for Whitaker to recuse himself like Sessions, saying that his television comments did not disqualify him from high position.

Those included an op-ed article in which he said Mr Mueller would be straying outside his mandate if he investigated Trump family finances and a radio interview in which he maintained there was no evidence of collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. "No one is above supervision", he told the Journal.

Stone has said he did not, but emails, Twitter messages and his own public statements show he portrayed himself as plugged into the WikiLeaks orbit.

Speaking in Brunswick, Collins said Whitaker's comments on the probe had her "very concerned" about his appointment, adding that a bill would pressure Trump to let the investigation run its course. During an interview with The New York Times previous year, Trump stated, "Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else".

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Installed without Senate advise-and-consent, Whitaker, who inherits oversight of Mueller's investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, has stated that "The Trump Organization's business dealings are plainly not within the scope of the investigation, nor should they be".

Once a USA attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, Whitaker also served as a legal commentator at CNN until he joined the DOJ in September 2017.

This page opposed Sessions' nomination as attorney general because of his regressive views on civil rights, immigration, sentencing and other issues.

It is signed by the attorneys general, all Democrats, of Massachusetts, New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

"He was very, very highly thought of, and still is highly thought of, but this only comes up because anybody that works for me, they do a number on them", Trump said.

He subsequently tweeted that Iowa Governor Joni Ernst, US Senator Chuck Grassley and US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad were among those who thought "very highly" of Whitaker. And since Sessions technically resigned instead of forcing the White House to fire him, he opened the door under federal law to allowing the president to choose his successor instead of simply elevating Rosenstein, said University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck.

Such appointments can be done for senior officials who have worked in the department for at least 90 days and can last for up to 210 days, spokesman George Hartmann said.

The CNN story also cites an administration source who says that Kushner and Christie are on good terms and agree on prison reform efforts.

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