Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Democrats Seek Hearing on Trump's Ouster of Sessions

Fears for Russia probe as Trump fires Jeff Sessions Whitaker was campaign chairman for Mueller witness
Ellis Copeland | 09 November, 2018, 20:58

"We still have a say no matter what Donald Trump thinks", Viola said.

To this point, Trump has heeded advice not to directly interfere, though a new chapter in the relationship with the probe may have begun with the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as new acting attorney general. Sessions recused himself from the probe, a decision that rankled the president.

Responsibility for the probe was then passed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

That set off immediate alarm bells: Whitaker has been overtly critical of the broad scope granted to Mueller's team to probe beyond allegations Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation in 2016, into other ties between Trump, his family and aides, and Russian Federation - an investigation the president calls a "witch hunt".

On August 6, 2017, Whitaker also tweeted an op-ed newspaper piece from a former Philadelphia prosecutor carrying the headline: "Note to Trump's Lawyer: Do not cooperate with Mueller lynch mob".

George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and Michael Flynn have all been indicted by Mueller.

Under the special counsel regulation, Whitaker has the power to block any "investigative or procedural step" Mueller recommends, such as bringing an indictment or subpoena, if he determines it to be "inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices".

Eighteen state attorneys general signed a document Thursday calling on the new AG to recuse himself from the probe, citing in part his "hostility" to the investigation given his past criticism in the media.

The Democrats said they also want the Justice Department to protect the integrity of Mueller's investigation and to preserve relevant documents.

Former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos convicted of graft
As well as being first lady, she was the minister of human settlements from 1976 to 1986 and governor of Manila from 1978 to 1984. Marcos, who is running for Ilocos Norte governor , is also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.


US court halts construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline
TransCanada, which is pushing the project, did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Friday. Four days after Trump was sworn into office, he invited TransCanada to resubmit its permit application.


Tanzania frees two members of CPJ journalists' advocacy group
The journalists were detained on Wednesday by Tanzanian immigration officials while on a reporting mission for the CPJ. In the meantime, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation is trying to establish what has happened.


"We are here today because we believe in the rule of law, and we have a president that does not", Naperville protest organizer Bob Landolti said.

"If we're not here protesting, nobody will hold Trump accountable", said one protester at the event. "He would have to trump up some charges", Ohlin said. "Anything that is outside of Russian coordination or the 2016 campaign would be outside of the scope of that investigation".

Just to review how we got here, last year, Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigations into the 2016 campaign.

"Mueller was not Senate confirmed", the president said.

Supporters of the investigation around the country argue that Whitaker, who was given oversight of the special counsel probe after Sessions was forced out, has already shown that he will impede the crucial investigation, and that Trump's move is clear evidence of obstruction of justice. She said she called on people to contact legislators and form a public outcry about Sessions' resignation that will have to be addressed.

That could politically immobilize the president, even if the Republican-majority Senate protects the President from removal.

In Washington, DC, protesters called on Democrat and Republican legislators to put partisan divisions aside to avoid the possibility of a constitutional crisis.

"His numbers went up and ours went down, and we underperformed in the next election", he said.

Trump has continued pressing his view that Mueller leads a team staffed by Democrats operating under an illegal mandate. "The constitution is shaking right now".

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