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Trump's attorney general switch sparks Russia probe outcry

10 November 2018

WASHINGTON, Nov 9 - President Donald Trump said on Friday he had not discussed the probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election with Matt Whitaker before appointing him as acting attorney general, and it was up to Whitaker whether he wanted to be involved with the investigation.

"I haven't ruled out anything", he said.

"So with deference and respect to what the president's trying to do - he has every right to want whoever he wants to run the Justice Department - he has chosen someone who does not qualify under the law to be the acting attorney general of the United States", Napolitano said. In the meantime, congressional Democrats could challenge Whitaker's appointment under the Vacancies Reform Act, given that Sessions did not die or become incapacitated but was asked to step aside by the President.

Flake announced the move Thursday, a day after President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with loyal ally Matt Whitaker. The latest indication of his fury came Wednesday when he forced out his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, whose recusal opened the door to Mueller's appointment. 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.

The White House says the press is blowing a statement by a private citizen out of proportion, and President Trump himself insists he's never spoken with Whitaker about the probe.

Trump has called the investigation a "witch hunt".

Over 5,000 people raised hell in Union Square last night to protest the firing of Jeff Sessions and demand that Donald Trump's new attorney general recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

Even after he arrived at the Justice Department, Whitaker harbored frustration about the length of the special counsel probe and doubts about the scope of Mueller's authority, a person familiar with the matter said.

The president has repeatedly said he doesn't watch CNN.

Banco reports: "Whitaker is seen as a rogue and underqualified new leader whose impact won't just be felt on the Mueller probe but throughout the federal government".

When asked whether Whitaker would now assume control over the Mueller investigation, U.S. Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Flores said Whitaker would be "in charge of all matters" under the purview of the department.

Toomey said he had no reason to think the Mueller probe would be disrupted. "We had several hundred people who showed up, chilly, moments notice, to say we are paying attention, and we are watching, and we care".

"You mean Mr. Kellyanne Conway?"

Trump's attorney general switch sparks Russia probe outcry