Mueller probe invalid by lack of Senate confirmation

Fears for Russia probe as Trump fires Jeff Sessions

Another Republican senator, Susan Collins of ME, said she was concerned by some of Whitaker's past comments and called for legislation that would place limits on his ability to fire special counsel Mueller.

Stern - as well as former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal and lawyer George Conway - argue that Whitaker's appointment is unconstitutional because as a principal officer who reports directly to Trump, Whitaker is required to receive the advice and consent of the US Senate, as stipulated by the US Constitution's Appointments Clause and upheld by the Supreme Court.

"The only two paths to that office are regular succession, and advice (and) consent", said a source close to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Since then, Whitaker, who had been Sessions' chief of staff, has faced pressure from Democrats to recuse himself from overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller, based on critical comments he made about the investigation before joining the Justice Department previous year.

Whitaker, a Republican Party loyalist and chief of staff to just-ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions, was elevated Wednesday after his boss was forced from his job by Trump.

Mueller is probing both Russia's interference and whether Trump's presidential campaign may have colluded with Moscow. At least one Justice official in the room mentioned that there would be legal questions about whether Whitaker's appointment as acting attorney general is constitutional.

Speaking in Kentucky on Friday, McConnell said he expects acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker to be "a very interim" attorney general. But I didn't know Matt Whitaker. "I mean, I know Matt Whitaker". Someone also reminded Sessions that the last time Whitaker played a role in a purported resignation - a few weeks earlier in September, with Rosenstein - the plan collapsed.

More news: All the Ways Democrats Made History on Tuesday

Trump told reporters Friday "I don't know Matt Whitaker" and said he didn't speak with Whitaker about special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

A Justice Department spokeswoman has said Whitaker would oversee all matters under the department's jurisdiction, including the Mueller investigation.

Whitaker has made public comments critical of Mueller's investigation, and critics have called on Whitaker to recuse himself from oversight of the inquiry.

"No matter who I put in, they go after him", Trump said."He's a highly respected man, especially by law enforcement, and I think he's going to do a great job".

U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election in an attempt to tip it towards Trump and away from his Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

McConnell, meanwhile, said, "I think this will be a very interim AG". "He's said repeatedly it's going to be allowed to finish". "I haven't ruled out anything", he said.

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