Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump attacks Mueller as more indictments reportedly loom

Trump attacks Mueller as more indictments reportedly loom

Republican Senator Jeff Flake and Democrat Chris Coons had said they would push the measure after Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and tossed out more than a century of precedent to name Sessions chief of staff Matt Whitaker as acting attorney general on November 7.

The switch ignited a wave of protests from Trump's Democratic opponents but the president on Thursday doubled down on his rejection of Mueller and "his gang of Democrat thugs".

"They are a disgrace to our Nation and don't care how many lives (they) ruin", he wrote, branding the investigators "Angry People, including the highly conflicted Bob Mueller".

Napolitano added that if Whitaker's appointment is found to be illicit, it would likely make his decisions "null and void" - which would be problematic if they greatly affect the nation, like a potential constraint of Special Counsel Bob Mueller. "They won't even look at all of the bad acts and crimes on the other side", he said.

The senators are concerned about Whitaker's past criticism of the Mueller probe, which is looking at Russian interference in the 2016 election and ties to US President Donald Trump's campaign.

Left open yet, however, is whether Trump will sit for an interview with Mueller for further questioning about the collusion allegations and whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice by trying to thwart the probe.

In recent days, Trump had been relatively quiet about the investigation.

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Complicating matters is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has outright rejected approving legislation that protects Robert Mueller's probe.

Whitaker has been facing calls to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe due to his criticism of the investigation.

Whitaker, a Trump loyalist and a former US attorney for the southern district of Iowa, had criticized the Mueller probe as too far-reaching before he was appointed by Trump last week to run the Justice Department.

Whitaker told Graham the investigation would be allowed to proceed, the person said.

The Democrats poised to take over the committees on Oversight, Government Reform, Judiciary, Energy and Commerce and Intelligence announced on Wednesday that they are requesting information relating to Whitaker's role at World Patent Marketing.

Trump has recently taken to pushing the bogus talking point that Mueller was not confirmed by the Senate, and legal experts told INSIDER the claim is "flat out wrong" because Mueller is an "inferior officer" - not a "principal officer" who reports directly to the President - and therefore does not need to be confirmed by the Senate.

Trump has repeatedly attacked the investigation, which has led to criminal charges against several former Trump aides.

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