Trump Denies Knowing Attorney General He Met Over a Dozen Times

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Staff applauded as Mr Sessions left the Department of Justice

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Staff applauded as Mr Sessions left the Department of Justice

The Senate will not be voting on a bill to protect Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller from being fired, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Friday.

But the relationship was irreparably damaged in March 2017 when Sessions, acknowledging previously undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador and citing his work as a campaign aide, recused himself from the Russia investigation.

As the minority party in the Senate, Democrats might need some Republican support to have legal standing to sue Trump under the Appointments Clause, said Andrew Wright, who was a White House lawyer under former President Barack Obama. Congressional Democrats have called on him to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation.

Matthew Whitaker's future at the helm of the Justice Department appears uncertain as President Donald Trump denies even knowing the man he's just named acting attorney general.

A spokesman for Mueller's office declined to comment on Sessions' departure and what it means for Mueller's probe.

Hundreds of people protested any attempts by the Trump administration to suppress the Mueller probe in demonstrations across the United States, including New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Speaking in Kentucky on Friday, McConnell said he expects acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker to be "a very interim" attorney general. "I know Matt Whitaker". Am I supposed to say, 'Oh, now he's never qualified to serve in government?' " Trump asked. The latest indication of the fury came Wednesday when he forced out his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, whose recusal opened the door to Mueller's appointment.

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed confidence in a new interview that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election will be handled "appropriately".

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

"To be USA attorney, that's top of the line", Trump said.

The Mueller probe should not extend to the finances of Trump, his family or their business, the Trump Organization, he argued.

In ordinary times, a president's decision to replace his attorney general halfway through his term wouldn't set off alarm bells about possible obstruction of justice. "If he abuses his office in such a fashion, then there will be consequences". That would include specifying that only a Senate-confirmed Justice Department official, which Whitaker is not, could dismiss the special counsel. The protesters gathered to express their dissatisfaction with the appointment of Matthew Whitaker - who has expressed criticisms of the Russian Federation probe - as Acting Attorney General.

Sessions was the first casualty of a cabinet shakeup that had been expected from Trump following the midterm elections. "I don't think President Trump would choose him for this job if he didn't think he was up to it, and he is".

Live, ongoing coverage as nation takes to street to let Trump know that "nobody is above the law". Whitaker is in. Rosenstein is still the deputy attorney general - for now.

Mr Whitaker has criticised Mr Mueller's probe. The hearing largely involved whether Mueller's appointment as special counsel was constitutionally lawful, but also included a demand by the court for comments about the change in leadership.

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