Trump ousts U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announces interim replacement


Separately, House Judiciary Democrats called on Whitaker in a letter to recuse himself and keep the Mueller investigation under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a career Justice Department official who has given the special counsel full scope to pursue leads.

A furious US President Donald Trump on Wednesday fired his attorney general Jeff Sessions and threatened to retaliate with a "warlike posture" against the new Democratic House majority if it uses its subpoena power to launch investigations into his administration, signaling a precipitous deterioration in the domestic politics of the world's leading democracy.

The Saturday Night Massacre refers to October 20, 1973, when the US Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned rather than obey President Richard Nixon's order to fire special counsel Archibald Cox, who was investigating the Watergate scandal.

So Democrats like Chuck Schumer have claimed that the President's firing of his Attorney General represents, or may soon represent, a constitutional crisis. One of those offices, in NY, is leading an investigation involving the president's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and hush money payments Cohen says he made to two women who say they had sex with Trump. Before joining the Justice Department, Whitaker was openly critical of the Mueller investigation. Whitaker will oversee the Mueller investigation.

Other names being floated include Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has been handling negotiations with Mueller's team over what questions Trump would have to mention in the Russian Federation probe. Mueller and Trump's lawyers have negotiated for months about a possible interview, with no agreement in sight.

As part of Whitaker's new role as the head official at the Justice Department, he will oversee the Russian Federation probe and the agency's other federal investigations, including the NY prosecutors' look into the finances of Trump and his former aides.

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He also said the line of succession within the Justice Department does not include the chief of staff and the fact that someone in that position would be made acting attorney general is "very odd".

At a protest in support of Mueller outside the White House, a crowd of several hundred protesters shouted anti-Trump slogans.

He added that Trump's main problem with Jeff Sessions, whose resignation the president eventually demanded, was because the former senator had recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation, and not that he did "anything wrong or anything on immigration or national security or any other issue".

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT also criticized Whitaker's appointment. It culminated in the White House later banning a CNN reporter who questioned the President aggressively on why he insisted on calling a migrant caravan that is hundreds of miles from the U.S. border an 'invasion'.

Sessions, who likely suspected his ouster was imminent, was spotted by reporters giving some of his grandchildren a tour of the White House over the weekend. The special counsel's team has been investigating Stone's connection to WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign and whether he had advance knowledge of the group's plans to release hacked material damaging to Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"The president's actions have plunged the country into peril", the Democrats added.