"Under Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, it is imperative that the important work of the Justice Department continues, and that the Mueller investigation proceeds to its conclusion unimpeded", he said on Twitter. In an August 2017 op-ed for CNN, he argued that the scope should be narrowed only to direct interactions between Trump's presidential campaign and Russian Federation, and not include anything pertaining to Trump's business interests or finances. Previously he was a conservative legal commentator who was critical of the scope of Mueller's probe.
Mr Mueller is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, resulting in a series of criminal charges against several Trump associates.
"(Whitaker) called it "Mueller's lynch mob" and he said the way to do it was to, in effect, deny funding, stifle it that way, or cut authority or disapprove indictments", Blumenthal said. Schumer and Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who is likely to become House speaker next year, called on Whitaker to recuse himself, with Schumer citing "his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation".
Whitaker also worked on Sam Clovis's failed campaign for Iowa state treasurer in 2014 after both of them ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.
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Trump blamed the recusal for the appointment of Mueller, who took over the Russian Federation investigation two months later and began examining whether Trump's hectoring of Sessions was part of a broader effort to obstruct the probe.
If Mr Whitaker made a decision to fire Mueller, he would need to inform the special counsel in writing of the specific reason for his termination.
Good cause is a hard thing to show, especially since Mueller's actions were approved by the deputy attorney general, said Jens Ohlin, a professor of criminal law at Cornell Law School.
Graham said in a statement: 'I talked with the President about a permanent replacement for Attorney General.
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Mr Mueller could seek to challenge his own firing if he felt Whitaker lacked the good cause required by the special counsel regulation, said Mr Ohlin. A court might then issue a temporary restraining order blocking his removal.
'The rule of law is disappearing before our eyes, ' tweeted former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, who was the first senior figure fired by Trump. The law was meant to address vacancies created by deaths or resignations, but it is not clear it also applies to those created by firings.
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.
"At your request, I am submitting my resignation", Mr Sessions wrote in the opening of his resignation letter to Trump.
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Eirik Walle, of Norway's rescue centre, told Norwegian news agency NTB the collision smashed a hole in the side of the warship. The warship is now in danger of sinking, while the tanker, named the Sola TS , is slightly damaged and did not spill oil.