Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said Wednesday it was incredible that the Justice Department reached back to a short-term Reconstruction-era presidential appointment to legitimize President Trump's decision to make former Iowa federal prosecutor Matt Whitaker the acting US attorney general.
While the full scope of Mueller's investigation remains classified, Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him in May 2017 to investigate allegations of collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation.
Congressional Democrats on Thursday dismissed as "fatally flawed" a Justice Department legal opinion defending Trump's decision to appoint Whitaker as acting attorney general to replace ousted Jeff Sessions.
The president later tacked on: "The only "Collusion" is that of the Democrats with Russian Federation and many others".
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Instead of merely railing against the investigation as "witch hunt", the president had specific criticisms of the investigators' behavior, leveling a more pointed critique against the Mueller team than he often does.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats have called for Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation.
Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a Vietnam War veteran, is leading one of the most explosive probes in United States political history.
The American Constitution Society on Wednesday released a powerful letter signed by at least 1,600 attorneys nationwide calling for lawmakers and Justice Department officials to protect the Mueller probe.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) told Politico a nominee would likely "relieve a lot of the controversy", referencing efforts to introduce legislation to protect Mueller and prevent the defunding or derailment of the investigation.
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Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the committee, who had asked for a hearing, was less certain of Mr. Whitaker's legal standing.
Nadler and Schiff are expected to become chairmen of their committees in the next Congress.
Mueller has won convictions or secured guilty pleas from several Trump campaign figures, who are cooperating with Mueller's investigators while awaiting sentencing.
Those concerns were only amplified after Trump appointed Whitaker as acting attorney general last week.
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