Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Aggressive Trump tries to consolidate position with Sessions firing before Mueller report

Aggressive Trump tries to consolidate position with Sessions firing before Mueller report

Graham also praised Sessions, saying he had "served our nation well and honorably" and "dedicated his whole life to conservatism and upholding the Rule of Law".

Trump has made it clear, Swalwell said, that the only thing he cares about with the Justice Department and who runs it is "that person's position on his personal criminal exposure and that of his family in the Russian Federation probe".

During a brief stint previous year as a conservative legal commentator on CNN, Whitaker often appeared as a Trump defender, saying he saw no evidence the president colluded with Russians during the 2016 campaign or obstructed justice.

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.

The 90-minute presser was a finger-wagging spectacle, with Trump repeatedly berating reporters and the media, and some observers comparing him to a drunk uncle at a wedding party as he rambled incoherently on sundry issues in a spectacle that many fear diminishes the United States.

Rosenstein no longer will oversee the special counsel investigation. She and the House intelligence committee's incoming chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., have said they want to help protect Mueller and launch investigations of their own into Trump.

The investigation has produced 32 criminal charges and guilty pleas from four former Trump aides.

Moscow denies interfering in the 2016 election.

Sessions, a Republican and former Alabama senator, has been the focus of public attacks by Trump, who criticized him for recusing himself from the Russian Federation investigation because of his role on the Trump campaign team before becoming attorney general. But Mr Sessions's replacement will have the power to do so, or end the inquiry.

Congressional Democrats, concerned about protecting Mueller, called on Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation in its final but potentially explosive stages.

- Can Trump stop the probe? Justice Department officials said his taking over for his boss was, at the very least, "awkward", because chiefs of staff typically leave with the attorney general.

CNN and CBS News, both quoting unnamed sources, say Bondi is among those who might replace Jeff Sessions, who was forced to resign on Wednesday. Though Sessions was an early and prominent campaign backer of Trump, his departure letter lacked effusive praise for the president and made clear the resignation came "at your request".

The resignation was the culmination of a toxic relationship that frayed just weeks into the attorney general's tumultuous tenure, when he stepped aside from the Mueller investigation. That investigation is now being lead by former FBI director Robert Mueller, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and has overseen the probe's work.

According to U.S. media reports on Thursday, Mueller's team have started writing the final report of the investigation. He sought to strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities and states, typically governed by Democrats, that he accused of sheltering illegal immigrants from deportation.

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