Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Protests to protect Robert Mueller planned nationwide after Jeff Sessions firing

Protests to protect Robert Mueller planned nationwide after Jeff Sessions firing

He replaced him- temporarily- with Mathew Whitaker, a loyalist who has criticized the Mueller investigation and wants to strangle it, and who is considered even more of a supplicant than Sessions, whose sycophancy in the face of Trump's fury and humiliating put-downs was not sufficient to save his job.

Trump had repeatedly criticized Sessions for recusing himself from any investigation into potential Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

A personal connection to a Mueller witness is unlikely to sway Whitaker or the White House when it comes to recusal, as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein supervised the probe despite being a witness himself.

"So I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced with a recess appointment and that attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigation grinds to nearly a halt", Whitaker said during an interview with CNN in July 2017. "That's why Cabinet Secretaries have Deputies".

CNN's Jim Acosta, who regularly spars with Trump and his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, annoyed the president by asking if he'd demonised immigrants during the midterms election campaign and then went on to ask about the Russian Federation probe.

Rosenstein no longer will oversee the special counsel investigation.

Despite it all, Sessions never found himself back in favor with the president.

In this April 24, 2014, file photo, then-Iowa Republican senatorial candidate and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker watches before a live televised debate in Johnston, Iowa.

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Senior party officials have so far shied away from directly proposing the idea but have emphatically condemned the decision to fire Sessions and appoint Whitaker.

Mueller's sweeping investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as any crimes that arose during the course of that investigation, has resulted in numerous indictments and guilty pleas. Justice Department officials said his taking over for his boss was, at the very least, "awkward", because chiefs of staff typically leave with the attorney general.

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

Since stepping into his new role on Wednesday, Whitaker has faced questions - principally from Democrats - about whether he should recuse from the Russian Federation investigation, given that he has written opinion pieces in the past about the investigation, and is a friend and political ally of a witness.

The president hasn't been charged with any wrongdoing, but federal prosecutors have said that a grand jury investigation is ongoing and it targets unspecified "others". Chuck Grassley, now chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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

Sessions, a 71-year-old former Republican senator from Alabama, was the first senator to endorse Trump's insurgent presidential campaign.

By Thursday morning, more than 1,000 people said on a Facebook page for the event that they planned to attend, and more than 3,200 said they were interested.

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