Thousands of people protested across the US on Thursday to demand the protection of special counsel Robert Muellers investigation into the possible collusion between President Donald Trumps 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.
Jeff Sessions resignation as attorney general on Wednesday sparked worries for the future of Muellers probe. Sessions vexed Trump by recusing himself from Muellers investigation in 2017, an act that Trump has berated him for throughout his presidency.
Top Democrats want documents on Sessions departure
Trumps decision to name Matthew Whitaker as Sessions acting replacement fueled more concerns. Whitaker is considered by some to be a Trump loyalist who publicly spoke out against the Russia investigation.
Rosenstein has several severe conflicts of interest when it comes to the Mueller probe and the Obama administrations spygate efforts against President Trump and his associates. Rosenstein signed off on multiple Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications to extend surveillance on Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who was unfairly accused of being a Russian spy. The saga was only one instance of extreme overreach by members of the Obama administration. Rosenstein offered a weak wave-off of his role in the surveillance process, claiming he may not have read the whole FISA application before signing off on it.
Whitaker also stated he would not recuse himself from the Mueller probe as attorney general, or approve any subpoena request from Mueller.
Sessions’ resignation, in a one-page letter to President Donald Trump, came one day after Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives and was the first of several expected post-midterms Cabinet and White House departures. 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.”
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer 2/ Demonstrators in New York City stayed up late into the night. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon 3/ Mueller is believed have begun writing a final report on Russias interference in the 2016 US presidential election. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon Source: CNN
Video: James Clapper: Why I think Trump picked Sessions replacement
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik 5/ Some of the demonstrations organizers said that acting Attorney General Matthew Whitakers appointment was a “deliberate attempt to obstruct the special counsels investigation.”
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Video: President Trump Gets His Wish As Attorney General Jeff Sessions Resigns