Whitaker: Mueller Probe to Continue 11/16 06:35
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has told Republican Sen. Lindsey
Graham in a meeting that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation will
proceed, according to a person familiar with the meeting.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has told
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham in a meeting that special counsel Robert
Mueller's investigation will proceed, according to a person familiar with the
The meeting with Graham and Whitaker Thursday comes as a bipartisan group of
senators is pushing legislation to protect Mueller's job. The senators are
concerned about Whitaker's past criticism of the Mueller probe, which is
looking at Russian interference in the 2016 election and ties to President
Donald Trump's campaign. Trump appointed Whitaker acting attorney general last
Whitaker told Graham the investigation would be allowed to proceed, the
person said. The person wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the meeting
and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats have called for
Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said earlier this week that Whitaker will
follow Justice Department protocols and consult with senior ethics officials
"on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal."
Democrats have also called for the special counsel bill to be added to a
year-end spending bill that must pass in December to avoid a partial government
shutdown. The bipartisan legislation, introduced more than a year ago, would
give any special counsel a 10-day window to seek expedited judicial review of a
firing and put into law existing Justice Department regulations that a special
counsel can only be fired for good cause.
On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said he would not vote to confirm
judicial nominees unless GOP leaders hold a vote on the Mueller protection
Whitaker is now overseeing the Mueller probe, which had previously been
overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein told Congress
that he saw no reason to fire Mueller.
Recently ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from
overseeing Mueller because he had worked on Trump's Republican campaign --- a
decision that infuriated Trump and led to Sessions resigning at the president's
Trump has repeatedly criticized Mueller and called the investigation a hoax.
He tweeted Thursday that the probe is "A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN