Trump Team Tapped Matt Whitaker Last Year

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Staff applauded as Mr Sessions left the Department of Justice
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Staff applauded as Mr Sessions left the Department of Justice
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13 November, 2018

The hearing largely involved whether Mueller's appointment as special counsel was constitutionally lawful, but also included a demand by the court for comments about the change in leadership.

Brenna Bird, a county prosecutor in Iowa who worked at Whitaker's former law firm, said Whitaker, along with Sessions, briefed the president "several times" and that Whitaker has gained Trump's trust.

Organizers claimed similar events were held in hundreds of places across the country.

President Richard Nixon's Former White House counsel John Dean on Wednesday said President Donald Trump's firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions seemed to be "planned like a murder".

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.

The timing of the firing in conjunction with the surprise Whitaker appointment smacks of a hinted high-level political coup not seen here since the notorious Saturday Night Massacre of 1974, when President Richard Nixon sought to shut off the Justice Department investigation into the Watergate scandal.

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. Our advice would be very different if Trump tried to capitalize on Sessions' resignation to halt or hamper the Mueller investigation. He also said "the left is trying to sow this theory" that the Russians interfered with the 2016 election.

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"I think this will be a very interim AG", McConnell said. His very first act as head of the Department of Justice was to issue, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, a directive stripping the right to asylum from anyone who enters the United States over the Mexican border and has not first gained legal status-a move that is tantamount to abolishing the right to asylum, which is guaranteed under global and USA law. "I know Matt Whitaker".

Trump has brushed off those concerns, saying Friday, "This only comes because anybody that works for me, they do a number on them". And he was critical of Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation probe, which put Rosenstein in charge of it. Trump said Sessions' recusal was "extremely unfair" and he wouldn't have given Sessions the job if he had known Sessions would recuse himself.

He said he was speaking only for himself and he hoped Republicans might join as plaintiffs if a lawsuit goes forward. That candidate, unlike Whitaker, would have to be confirmed by the Senate.

As attorney general, and earlier as White House counsel, he faced criticism for drafting controversial rules for military war tribunals, seeking to limit the legal rights of detainees at the USA prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A growing chorus of legal experts say the latter makes Whitaker's appointment unconstitutional. There's no such requirement for a special counsel.

And in an October 11 interview on Fox News, Trump made clear he did, in fact, know Whitaker well.

The difference then was that key Republican friends and allies of Nixon in the House and Senate like Sen.

Walter Shaub, who was director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics for four years before resigning in July 2017, said the friendship between Whitaker and Clovis should disqualify Whitaker from supervising the Mueller investigation.


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