Meet Trump's New Acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker

Meet Trump's New Acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker

In the House of Representatives, the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee - which Democrats will control from January - called for an investigation of Sessions' firing.

Whitaker is poised to take over the Russian Federation investigation, a probe he has criticized in the past.

Mueller's team and Democrats in Congress can fight back.

One of the exceptions, Senator Susan Collins, said non-interference in the Mueller probe was "imperative".

Donald Trump with Mr Sessions in December past year.

The next month, Whitaker wrote an op-ed posted on CNN's website in which he argued that Mueller's investigation appeared to be going too far and may constitute a "witch hunt", echoing one of Trump's favorite descriptions to criticize and discredit the probe.

Democrats have slammed Whitaker's appointment to replace Sessions, arguing that Trump is trying to undermine Mueller and demanding that Whitaker recuse himself from supervising the Mueller investigation due to his writings and public comments attacking the investigation. However, the publication cited anonymous sources, and added that it was not clear how serious the president was about the idea.

Mr Sessions, who was an early backer of the Trump campaign, recused himself in March 2017 from overseeing the Russian Federation investigation under a similar rule which prohibits officials from overseeing investigations into subjects with whom they have a "a personal or political relationship".

Mr Trump has at various times belittled Mr Sessions as "beleaguered", "VERY weak", and "DISGRACEFUL".

Trump repeatedly lamented that he would have never selected Sessions if he had known the attorney general would recuse himself.

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He is a longtime friend of Trump and endorsed him after dropping out of the 2016 presidential campaign.

And since Sessions technically resigned instead of forcing the White House to fire him, he opened the door under federal law to allowing the president to choose his successor instead of simply elevating Rosenstein, said University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck.

That left Rosenstein overseeing the investigation, and he named Mueller as special counsel.

Here is a look at how Whitaker might stop or slow the Mueller investigation and the risks he might run in doing so.

Whitaker, who had a stint as a legal commentator for CNN, has been vocal in his criticism of Mueller's investigation and its scope.

The special counsel has also been investigating whether Mr Comey's firing amounted to obstruction of justice.

Marc Lotter, former spokesman for Vice President Pence, former special assistant to President Trump.

What does this mean for the Mueller probe?

There had already been hints that Robert Mueller's pre-election "quiet period" was about to come to an end.

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