Richard Blumenthal: Trump firing Sessions is a 'break the glass moment'

Pauline Gross
November 9, 2018

Protesters believe Sessions' resignation will lead to the undoing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump presidential campaign.

Trump told associates that he felt that Whitaker would be "loyal" and would not have recused himself from the Russian Federation probe as Sessions had done, according to two Republicans close to the White House not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

"Sessions did not do the thing he could have done to better protect Rosenstein, and through Rosenstein, the Mueller investigation", Vladeck said. One was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in April, making it eligible for a full Senate vote.

Outcry from Democrats. Democrats viewed the move as a clear attempt to crush the Russian Federation election-meddling probe and called for Whitaker to recuse himself as Sessions had done, the BBC reports.

He could also refuse to sign off on a subpoena of Trump if the president refuses to voluntarily speak to investigators.

A senior administration official tells the Washington Post that Whitaker, who met with Trump at least a dozen times, tended to smile and nod in agreement whenever the president complained about the Mueller investigation.

"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.

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".

As Sessions' deputy, Rod Rosenstein has been the authority over Mueller's probe, but multiple media outlets are reporting that he has officially been removed from oversight of the investigation.

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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".

One is simply by declining to continue to pay the investigators or attorneys working for the special counsel.

When the special counsel's office wants to issue a subpoena or send investigators or call witnesses before a grand jury, the deputy attorney general is often involved.

Justice Department rules on special counsels set boundaries on how Mueller could be removed. Mueller's team also has been pressing for an interview with Trump. "He has no reason to recuse himself", Malcolm told VOA.

He was the co-chairman of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's 2012 Iowa campaign for president, and campaigned himself for the Senate seat opened by the retirement of Democrat Tom Harkin.

He found satisfaction in being able to reverse Obama-era policies that conservatives say flouted the will of Congress, encouraging prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges they could and promoting more aggressive enforcement of federal marijuana law. Though Sessions was an early and prominent campaign backer of Trump, his departure letter lacked effusive praise for the president and made clear the resignation came "at your request".

The Democrats, who won the House in the mid-terms, have vowed to protect it.

Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler, expected to chair the House Judiciary Committee starting in January, said removing Sessions fit Trump's pattern of interfering in the work of the Justice Department and Mueller.

A copy of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' resignation letter is photographed in Washington on an image of the exterior of the Justice Department.

Other reports by GizPress

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