Questions over Mueller probe after Trump fires Sessions

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Hundreds of people gathered in Federal Plaza and marched through downtown streets to Trump Tower on Thursday evening to protest President Donald Trump's decision to force the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replace him with an official who has been critical of Robert Mueller's investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

While calling on Whitaker to recuse himself from the probe, Galland also said that "Congress must immediately move to protect the independence of Special Counsel Mueller and put in protections that prevent Trump from firing him or undercutting his investigation or having his new acting attorney general or eventual replacement obstruct Mueller's work".

Mr Whitaker has publicly criticised Mr Mueller's conduct several times since the inquiry began in May past year and taken the side of Mr Trump, who has dismissed it...

As the probe continued to cloud his presidency, Trump kept complaining about Sessions recusing himself from supervising Mueller and entrusting the task instead to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Mitt Romney, who just won election to the U.S. Senate from Utah, also tweeted that the Mueller probe should be allowed to proceed "to its conclusion unimpeded".

Whitaker now becomes Mueller's new boss and judging by past statements he will be sympathetic towards Trump. Dick Durbin, noting that the move against Sessions happened one day after the midterm elections.

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But his departure was anticipated since early this year, after he endured withering and repeated criticism from the president over the legally troubled ban on Muslim travellers Trump sought when he came into office, and over the Mueller probe.

In this April 24, 2014, file photo, then-Iowa Republican senatorial candidate and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker watches before a live televised debate in Johnston, Iowa.

In a July 10, 2017, appearance on CNN, Whitaker shrugged off the idea that the Trump Tower meeting could be part of a criminal conspiracy. "I'd like to know the truth", said Pat Noga, an Emmaus resident.

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.

"Trump putting himself above the law is a threat to our democracy, and we've got to get Congress to stop him", the group said on its website.

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Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway suggested on Thursday morning that the question of whether Whitaker will recuse himself is absurd.

CNN reports that Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is also under consideration.

He added that Trump's main problem with Jeff Sessions, whose resignation the president eventually demanded, was because the former senator had recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation, and not that he did "anything wrong or anything on immigration or national security or any other issue".

One reason Sessions endured months of taunting from Trump is that he believed he was protecting the integrity of the Justice Department and was trying to prevent the president from bringing in someone who would politicize it, according to a USA official who has worked with Sessions and frequently talked with him.

Her words were echoed by Democratic party Senate leader Chuck Schumer, who added: "Clearly, the president has something to hide."

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