Can Trump block the Mueller probe?

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It is not clear how long Whitaker will be the acting attorney general, as a discussion about a permanent replacement is underway at the White House in the wake of Sessions' resignation.

He served as the USA attorney for the Southern District of Iowa from 2004-2009, and was well respected in Republican circles in the state, according to the Des Moines Register. One was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in April, making it eligible for a full Senate vote. In that role, the telegenic former college football player managed attorneys who prosecuted federal crimes and represented the government in civil matters in half of Iowa.

As acting attorney general, Whitaker now has the power to wrest oversight away from Rosenstein, and take charge himself.

In a CNN op-ed previous year, Whitaker wrote, "Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russian Federation 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing".

Some Democrats quickly demanded that Whitaker should recuse himself from supervising Mueller, as Sessions did because Whitaker wrote an opinion piece for CNN in August 2017 that argued Mueller had too much latitude in his investigation. That investigation is now being lead by former FBI director Robert Mueller, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and has overseen the probe's work.

"If he doesn't, then Mueller's investigation will eventually start to look like a political fishing expedition".

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The president also spoke about Mueller's investigation, saying it should "end".

CNN's Jim Acosta, who regularly spars with Trump and his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, annoyed the president by asking if he'd demonised immigrants during the midterms election campaign and then went on to ask about the Russian Federation probe.

Whitaker, in a Justice Department statement released on Wednesday evening said, "I am committed to leading a fair department with the highest ethical standards, that upholds the rule of law, and seeks justice for all Americans".

Mr Sessions removed himself from the probe after Democrats accused him of failing to disclose contacts he had had with the Russian ambassador as a senior adviser to Mr Trump's campaign.

Gustoff said he, Whitaker and Hagenow founded their law firm with common conservative beliefs and the goal of serving their faith, families and Iowans rather than exclusively to make money.

Nobody Is Above The Law said it had been preparing "rapid response" protests, just in case of a major development in the investigation.

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Is Donald Trump Jr. the next to be indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation? Officials there have said Whitaker will follow the regular procedure in handling any ethics issues that arise.

Most of Whitaker's career has been spent in private practice, including at a Des Moines law firm he founded with other Republican Party activists in 2009. Whitaker garnered more than 11,000 votes in the primary, which he lost to Joni Ernst who went on to win election to the Senate.

The two people close to Whitaker also said they strongly believe he would not approve any request from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to subpoena the president.

Professor Scott Lucas of the University of Birmingham described the situation as "unprecedented" but said the Democrats would likely have a plan in place should Trump make a move on Mueller through the acting attorney general or a future appointment. He earned $402,000 in 2016, the group's tax filing shows.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell blocked consideration of the Senate bill earlier this year. He served as state chairman during the 2012 election cycle for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's campaign. Whitaker was the co-chair of Raecker's 2010 re-election campaign for the state legislature, and co-chaired former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's 2012 presidential campaign in Iowa. He majored in communications studies as an undergraduate and was interested in broadcasting and film production.

As far as ME politics are concerned, King declined to comment on Democrats gaining control of the state's governorship and Legislature, noting he was busy focusing on his own campaign. He was a George W. Bush loyalist - named a former U.S. attorney in Iowa under Bush - but like many others, he has become a big admirer of Trump along the way. Whitaker denied that accusation, and McCoy was acquitted at a 2007 trial.

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