Jeff Sessions has been forced out as attorney general by U.S. President Donald Trump, throwing into jeopardy the future of the special counsel investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
That probe, led by Robert Mueller, is investigating whether the Donald Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election.
CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.
As a senator, Sessions was an early supporter of Trump, but the president lost faith in him after he recused himself from overseeing the special counsel probe.
An assistant attorney general has been overseeing the investigation, but that responsibility now shifts to Session’s temporary replacement, Matthew Whitaker, who has spoken out publicly against the investigation. He suggested in 2017 that funding for the special counsel could be cut off, and said the probe must remain narrow in focus and should not look at Trump’s finances.
“There is a red line. There is a very specific scope to this investigation and anything that is outside of Russian coordination or the 2016 campaign would be outside of the scope of that investigation,” said U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, in 2017.
The White House said Whitaker is qualified for the job, and that Trump did nothing wrong, but Democrats fear Whitaker, or the eventual permanent attorney general, will put an end to the Mueller investigation before it has run its course.
“Protecting Mueller and his investigation is paramount. It would create a constitutional crisis if this were a prelude to ending or greatly limiting the Mueller investigation,” U.S. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said.
“But what I’m proud of is not a title or a job. What I’m proud of is this Department—the 115,000 people who work together to pursue our goals. “
Bruce Fein on what Jeff Sessions’ ouster means for Mueller’s investigation
To find out how the changes at the Justice Department could affect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke with constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein.