President Donald Trump distanced himself Friday from his new acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, whose past business ties and comments on the Russian Federation investigation and other topics have drawn scrutiny.
"The only two paths to that office are regular succession, and advice (and) consent", said a source close to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Another Republican senator, Susan Collins of ME, said she was concerned by some of Whitaker's past comments and called for legislation that would place limits on his ability to fire special counsel Mueller.
The Justice Department, under former President Barack Obama, aggressively pursued consent decrees, but Sessions has criticized them as a handicap on local law enforcement.
Republican Senator Susan Collins said Mueller must be allowed to complete his investigation into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow.
Despite calls for Whitaker to recuse himself from the investigation, like Sessions did at the dawn of the Trump administration, The Washington Post reported that he has no intention of doing so.
Those include an op-ed in which he said Mueller would be straying outside his mandate if he investigated Trump family finances and a talk radio interview in which he maintained that there was no evidence of collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. He also tweeted an ex-prosecutor's opinion piece that described a "Mueller lynch mob", which he said was "worth a read". The Wall Street Journal on Friday published an email revealing an FBI investigation into the company, World Patent Marketing Inc.More news: Northern California wildfire leaves town in ruins, thousands flee
The Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution states that some senior government officials, known as "principal officers", must be confirmed by the Senate.
The Orlando demonstration was made up of dozens of people and wasn't limited to Democrats, with Republican voters also on the scene, said Derek Bryan, 35 of Oviedo, one of the protesters. "He worked for Attorney General Sessions". But I didn't know Matt Whitaker.
"I can tell you Matt Whitaker is a great guy", Trump said.
Speaking to reporters at the White House before he left on a trip to Paris, Trump defended his choice of Whitaker, saying the former USA attorney for the southern district of Iowa had an excellent reputation and came highly recommended by former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who is now Trump's ambassador to China.
"I was a little bit surprised with regard to the speed, a little bit surprised that Attorney General Sessions wasn't allowed to stay until the end of the week, which apparently he had requested", said Hayden. McConnell said he expects Whitaker to be "a very interim" appointee.
"It's not necessary. The Mueller investigation is not under threat", McConnell told reporters.
He said he was speaking only for himself and he hoped Republicans might join as plaintiffs if a lawsuit goes forward.