Questions over Mueller probe after Trump fires Sessions

Postado Novembro 09, 2018

Demonstrations are taking place in more than 1,000 US cities and towns on Thursday evening-beginning at 5:00 PM (local time)-in response to President Donald Trump "installing a hack" to oversee the ongoing investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

He added that Trump's main problem with Jeff Sessions, whose resignation the president eventually demanded, was because the former senator had recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation, and not that he did "anything wrong or anything on immigration or national security or any other issue". "There's no collusion", Trump said on Wednesday.

Trump saw the move as a betrayal and frequently and publicly criticised Sessions for making the decision to recuse himself. 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. He urged Rod Rosenstein, the number two attorney in the AG's office and the Justice official who oversaw Mueller and his team in Sessions's stead, to limit their scope. Mueller is probing Russia's interference in the 2016 election, whether Trump or any of his associates conspired in the meddling, and whether Trump obstructed justice.

In an op-ed Whitaker wrote previous year, he argued that "any investigation into President Trump's finances or the finances of his family would require Mueller to return to Rod Rosenstein for additional authority under Mueller's appointment as special counsel".

Asked whether Whitaker would assume control over Mueller's investigation, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Flores said Whitaker would be "in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice".

King, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, pointed to the passage of a bill supporting Mueller's investigation as the most important action in the wake of the Sessions dismissal, but didn't offer any more specifics about what should be done.

But Mitt Romney, the party's 2012 presidential nominee who was elected on Tuesday to the U.S. Senate from Utah, warned that Mueller's probe should not be affected by Sessions' departure.

President Trump fired Jeff Sessions from his attorney general post yesterday.

House Democrats said on Wednesday that they would attempt to include a measure protecting Mueller into an appropriations bill that Congress is due to consider later this year.

Several hundred demonstrators, some carrying signs of "Trump is not above the law" and "You can't fire the truth", gathered outside the White House and in Lafayette Park, just north of the White House, in Washington, Nov. 8, 2018.

Jerry Role, a retired Department of Justice staffer told Al Jazeera that Trump's actions this week threatened the integrity of U.S. democracy.

Under the special counsel regulation, Whitaker has the power to block any "investigative or procedural step" Mueller recommends, such as bringing an indictment or subpoena, if he determines it to be "inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices".

CNN reports that Christie is not believed to have met with the president Thursday.

Trump's relentless attacks on Sessions came even though the Alabama Republican was the first US senator to endorse Trump and despite the fact his crime-fighting agenda and priorities, particularly his hawkish immigration enforcement policies, largely mirrored the president's.

Sessions took the lead in imposing Trump's travel ban targeting a number of mostly Muslim nations, canceling the so-called Dreamer program that let the children of undocumented immigrants remain in the US and forcing the separation of migrant families as part of a border crossing crackdown.

Sessions clashed, though, with Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, resisting his proposals to overhaul the criminal justice system and standing by his hard-line approach to imprisonment and sentencing.