With New Justice Official, Fate of Russia Probe in Question

With New Justice Official, Fate of Russia Probe in Question

As part of Whitaker's new role as the head official at the Justice Department, he will oversee the Russian Federation probe and the agency's other federal investigations, including the NY prosecutors' look into the finances of Trump and his former aides.

Whitaker has not been a fan. The recusal left the investigation in the hands of Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel two months later after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey.

Instead, he gave Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein the authority to oversee the probe independently.

It was Clovis, no stranger to TV and radio himself, who encouraged Whitaker to get a regular commentary gig on cable television to get President Donald Trump's attention, according to friends who Whitaker told at the time. The president's lawyers have argued he has vast privilege under the Constitution to hire or dismiss almost anyone within the executive branch.

"I'm disappointed in the attorney general for many reasons", Trump told reporters in September.

If that stands, there are other ways that Trump and a newly simpatico attorney general could complicate Mueller's work.

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.

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Despite Trump's criticism of the probe as a "witch-hunt", Sessions and Rosenstein both defended Mueller's integrity.

Under the special counsel regulations, the attorney general must notify the leaders of congressional judiciary committees of any time he rejected a proposed action by Mueller because he deemed it "inappropriate or unwarranted" under department policy. He'll likely be remembered as the worst Attorney General in American history. But the work is not done, and critical decisions await that could shape the remainder of Trump's presidency.

The president can not directly fire the special counsel.

Whitaker so far hasn't said much about his outlook for the Justice Department or the special counsel investigation; Rosenstein hasn't spoken publicly either since Sessions' dismissal. Democrats cited his past comments about Mueller as evidence that he too must recuse. In an interview previous year with a conservative talk radio host, Whitaker said there was "no collusion" between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation, a key question being examined by Mueller. Despite their House victory, Democrats still appear divided and Trump seems intent on driving a wedge in their ranks, repeatedly expressing his support for veteran Nancy Pelosi, 78, as the Speaker, even though the younger and more radical wing of the party want a younger, fresher face.

Warner said there are others in Trump's orbit like Roger Stone - a former Nixon confidante and political consultant - who have a "swirl" around them. Here's what you should know about Sessions' replacement. He is from Des Moines and attended the University of Iowa where he played football.

The bulk of Whitaker's relevant experience came when he served as USA attorney for the Southern District of Iowa from 2004 until 2009, a position for which he was recommended by Iowa Republican Sen.

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