President Donald Trump's pick for acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, is a close friend of Trump's 2016 election campaign co-chair, and a former government ethics chief said the friendship makes Whitaker unable to oversee impartially a politically charged investigation into the campaign.
"Matthew Whitaker has criticized Robert Mueller's investigation again and again", said Noah Bookbinder at a park near the White House, where some 500 demonstrators had gathered as part of the "Nobody Is Above The Law" protests.
Whitaker told CNN in 2017 he could envision a situation where a new attorney general would "reduce (Mueller's) budget so low that his investigation grinds to nearly a halt".
The counselor to the president went on to give credit to Sessions for his work at the Department of Justice, including cracking down on opioid abuse as well as the MS-13 gang.
The White House confirmed that Christie was there Thursday and met with Trump adviser Jared Kushner to discuss prison reform, according to a NJ Advance report.
Mueller has not publicly identified any of the targets of his investigation.
Thousands gathered in NY last night in support of Mueller amid fears Trump may try to scrap the probe into allegations of election meddling and collusion by his campaign and Russian Federation.
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For a "lynch mob", Mueller has so far produced a very methodical string of indictments, convictions, and guilty pleas from Trump's associates, and there is no shred of indication that anyone has been denied due process of law.
Voters already sent a message Tuesday, especially in the suburbs, where they defeated two longtime Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Peter Roskam and Randy Hultgren, Naperville protester Dawn Mashayekhi said.
To this point, Trump has heeded advice not to directly interfere, though a new chapter in the relationship with the probe may have begun with the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as new acting attorney general. Congress must act to ensure that Special Counsel Mueller can do his job without interference.
Here is a look at how Whitaker might stop or slow the Mueller investigation and the risks he might run in doing so. Sessions had endured months of public abuse from Trump, who soured on Sessions because he recused himself from oversight of the Russian Federation investigation shortly after he arrived at the Justice Department.
While he still led the government ethics office, Shaub a year ago advised the Justice Department to require Sessions' recusal from the Mueller probe because Sessions had been a senior adviser to Trump during the election campaign.
Short of legislation meant to protect Mueller, which is unlikely to pass, there is little Congress can do to challenge Whitaker's oversight of Mueller, said Rosenzweig. Whitaker has made no public comment since being named, but is reported in U.S. media to have made clear he will not recuse himself.
Senator Ron Wyden speaks at an anti-Trump protest at the Portland waterfront Thursday evening. Another person said that remained true ever after Whitaker took his place.
When the Democrats take over the House, they are expected to launch numerous probes of Trump, his business interests and his administrations.