San Diegans join protests demanding protections for Mueller probe

Fears for Russia probe as Trump fires Jeff Sessions

Trump, speaking to reporters Friday, stressed that Whitaker was serving as attorney general in an acting capacity.

Trevor Potter, a former Republican commissioner on the Federal Election Commission who now leads the Campaign Legal Center, which advocates for more transparency in elections, said the question of whether Whitaker should recuse himself depends on Clovis' status in the Mueller investigation.

But if Mueller is still gathering evidence on other matters such as Trump's business relations with Russians going back before the 2016 election, Whitaker may be able to stifle that, ruling it out of the realm of the original mandate.

But Jayapal said she defends Mueller because of those results.

In fact, Trump has met with his handpicked appointee more than a dozen times.

U.S. media sources have claimed special counsel Mueller is on the verge of claiming his biggest scalp yet as he readies an indictment against Donald Trump Junior.

But Whitaker also criticized famous decisions in which the Supreme Court declined to strike down laws that conservatives do not like, from 1930s cases involving President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs to the 2012 case in which the court declined to strike down President Barack Obama's health insurance law.

The investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller's into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow during the 2016 election has been hanging over Trump throughout his turbulent presidency.

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

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"I am not concerned about anything with the Russian investigation, because it is a hoax", he said.

Schumer also asked Trump for "specific reasons" why he installed Whitaker in the attorney general's office rather than Rosenstein, who and is next in the line of succession. "I mean, I know Matt Whitaker", Trump told Fox News last month.

The White House has faced questions over some of Mr Whitaker's previous comments.

In his comments Friday, he said he had not spoken with Whitaker about Mueller's investigation, which until now has been overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Sessions had recused himself from any investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

In a cosigned letter, the attorneys general said that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe "must proceed free from interference".

He has two other options: make a report on his conclusions for the House of Representatives, which has the power to impeach the president.

"If the president seeks to interfere in the impartial administration of justice, the Congress must stop him", Adam Schiff said.

New York City Rep. Jerrold Nadler - who is now the ranking Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee and could be the next chairman of the committee with Democrats taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives - questioned the president's move on Twitter and said that "we will be holding people accountable".

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