Haven't discussed anything with Whitaker on Russian probe

Fears for Russia probe as Trump fires Jeff Sessions

"Today, we saw a lot of people come out because they're really concerned about the firing of Jeff Sessions and the move to put Matt Whitaker in charge of the special counsel investigation", Forsythe said.

While special counsel Robert Mueller technically had a new boss at the Justice Department as of Wednesday afternoon, the day-to-day work of the probe forged ahead on Thursday.

A source close to Sessions says that the former attorney general realized that Whitaker was "self-dealing" after reports surfaced in September that Whitaker had spoken with Kelly and had discussed plans to become the No. 2 at the Justice Department if Rosenstein was forced to resign.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., warned in a letter to Trump on Friday that it potentially violated the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Democrats have criticized Whitaker for comments he has made in the past that were critical of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and have called for legislation to protect Mueller.

'You didn't have any problems with Matt Whitaker when he was working for Jeff Sessions, ' Mr. Trump said.

'I recognize that the president is never going to sign such a bill, but I think Senate debate and passage of the bill would send a very strong message to the president, ' she said.

The acting attorney general thanked Trump Wednesday evening, calling the president's confidence in him "a true honor".

Republican Senator Susan Collins said Mueller must be allowed to complete his investigation into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow.

During multiple interviews, Whitaker floated the idea of Sessions' replacement cutting off Mueller's funding before being able to conclude the investigation into Trump and several members of his campaign.

He also once tweeted an ex-prosecutor's opinion piece that described the Mueller team as a "lynch mob", and wrote his own op-ed saying Mueller would be outside his authority if he investigated Trump's family finances.

The email was sent past year by an Federal Bureau of Investigation victims' specialist to someone who the newspaper says was an alleged victim of the company, World Patent Marketing Inc., on which Whitaker served as an advisory board member. "He's just trying to get publicity for himself".

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department has said Whitaker would oversee all matters under its jurisdiction, including the Mueller investigation.

With the Mueller probe now squarely back in the spotlight, acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and the president should stay the course and not accept two sets of rules - one for them and another for Democratic administrations. That would be an appropriate exercise of the Acting Attorney General's oversight responsibilities. Whitaker will be the Acting Attorney General. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad were among those who thought "very highly" of Whitaker.

In Kentucky, meanwhile, McConnell said he expects Trump to nominate a new permanent attorney general "pretty quickly".

Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Reuters on Tuesday that he assumed it was "not going to affect" the Mueller investigation. "They held signs reading "#NobodyIsAboveTheLaw", "Protect Mueller: "finish the Russian Federation investigation" and "Mueller probe must go on". "That also happens to be my view".

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is said to be a candidate, along with Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, among others.

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