Thursday, 22 November, 2018

Alberto Gonzales 'profoundly concerned' over choice of new acting U.S. AG

U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker speaks during a news conference Wednesday Dec. 20 2006 in Des Moines Iowa. The federal government has charged 23 illegal aliens taken into custody last week at a raid at a Swift & Co. meatpacking plant in Marshalltown I U.S. Attorney General Sessions Resigns, Throwing Doubt On Russia Probe
Deanna Wagner | 09 November, 2018, 04:57

The protests kicked off Thursday night as media outlets began recirculating a 2017 interview Whitaker gave on "The David Webb Show" in which he argued that a USA president has the power to end any federal investigation without obstructing justice.

With the midterms over, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is believed to be preparing fresh indictments against Trump campaign figures, possibly including his son Donald Trump Jr. and a former campaign consultant Roger Stone, and could press for the president himself to answer questions. Democrats are particularly interested in how Whitaker will oversee the Mueller probe, given his past comments questioning the scope of the investigation.

"The forced firing of Attorney General Sessions appears to be part of an ongoing pattern of behavior by the president seeking to undermine (the) investigation into Russian interference", said the letter to Goodlatte, written by Representative Jerrold Nadler, the committee's top Democrat, and 16 other Democrats who sit on the panel.

Bondi has been a stauncher supporter of Trump during his campaign for the presidency and after taking office. I'm confident the White House is looking for someone who the President and country can have confidence in, and be confirmed by the Senate.

While he occasionally offered to work with the Democrats, he also said fairly bluntly that if they insisted on investigating him and his administration through the House, he would retaliate through the Senate and the executive power vested in him. The move superseded the regular order of succession which would have placed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein the Acting AG role. Republican Senator Susan Collins of ME criticized Trump for stripping Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of his role overseeing the probe. That would give him authority over funding and allow him to make critical decisions such as signing off on charges and determining whether Trump should be subpoenaed.

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He has also repeatedly criticized Mueller's Russian Federation investigation, which the Justice Department oversees, both in appearances as a CNN commentator and on Twitter. "Clearly, Attorney General Sessions doesn't have the confidence of the president".

Whitaker himself meanwhile offered little clue about his intentions in a bland statement to reporters thanking Trump for his appointment, praising his former boss as a "dedicated public servant" and adding he would work to leading a department that conformed to the "highest ethical standards". And he's one step closer to being able to do just that. The special counsel's team has been investigating Stone's connection to WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign and whether he had advance knowledge of the group's plans to release hacked material damaging to Democrat Hillary Clinton. This is the much-anticipated finishing touch on Mueller's Russia Investigation mandate.

Sessions, 71, has a long political history in Alabama.

How many people will show up remains to be seen.

He bolstered the agenda of Trump's evangelical supporters with new rules letting employers opt out of providing health insurance that covers birth control and paving the way for religious businesses and employees to discriminate based on their closely held beliefs.