Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired
Tired of spending hundreds of dollars for prescription glasses. Xeni offers thousands of Ford -able eyewear styles starting at just six ninety five. No ridiculous markups. No hassles. Just quality affordable. I wear delivered right to you visits. Any today at Xeni dot com slash CNN. Well, you are part of the new democratic majority in January will you will all be sworn in Nancy Pelosi presumably will be speaker. What will I suppose the House Judiciary committee, which of which you're a member? What will you do about it? If that's your view. I believe we need to be sending out first of all document, preservation voters to the special counsel to make sure that during this transition. There's no shredding documents or any documents or lost. We could also have hearings. We could also conduct our own investigation. We could build upon with a special counsel as done, and then continue it in the House Judiciary committee. There are a lot of ways we can hold Donald Trump and his administration accountable. Can you do that? Right. Now, or do you have to wait for the Democrats to take power in January every publicans put country over party if you do it next week if they don't have to wait until January. Okay. So will happen in January. The chief of staff to Jeff Sessions. Matt Whitaker will be the new acting attorney general Whittaker told CNN last year that he could envision a scenario where the new attorney general could reduce Muller's budget, so low make it so small that the modern investigation would grind to a halt. Essentially. Do you fear that Whittaker as acting attorney general will have that happen? Here's exactly the wrong person to oversee the molar pro the whole reason there was a special counsel investigation. It's because there was a conflict of interest for the president to oversee the investigation through the White House to have Whitaker. There is exactly the same problem. And also note that under the vacancies act. It is unclear if would occur could even be in that position. He is not Senate confirmed and. Then there's a issue about what position he has would qualify to be under vacant. Exact. So I think that's still somewhat of an open question. Do you expect Muller now to act quickly with any possible announcement now that the midterms are over and the attorney general has been fire? I believe Robert Muller is very smart, man. And that he has contingencies in place while I was going to be sending letters to both the Torney general's office as well as special counsel to say there's been any change in scope of investigation. They need to inform members of congress. And specifically that you disagree committee. Do you think that Muller's job is in jeopardy until Democrats take over the house of representatives, presumably in January? I do not believe Robert Muller's job is in jeopardy right now. I think the president does see that as a red line. I do believe pretty Whitaker is probably red line as well. But we'll see what what has to say. And in terms of firing Robert Mueller under departure Justice regulations. He could still only be fired for good. 'cause he can't just be fired. Just because Whitaker doesn't like him. Or what he's doing? You think that President Trump is not willing to cross the line to fire Robert Muller, or or have Robert Muller fired? Did I get that? Right. I do believe that. And also if the president believes that the only way to clear his name is for the Muller investigation to clear his name, then he would not fire him because otherwise there's no way. Donald Trump gets his main cleared. Do you actually believe that? Or are you just trying to convey that to President Trump? If you're trying to convince him, psychologically, some sort of Vulcan mind meld here that don't don't do this President Trump because you want to clear your name. Do you actually think that he has this red line? I do because I think he would have actually in fact executed a firing of Roure baller. I think he does think in his mind that the majority American people would rise up against him and that the tradition committee and now democratic control of the congress would be a check and balance on his ability to do that. All right. Congressman Ted lieu. Thank you so much and presumably congratulations on your reelection. I'm assuming if you're talking to me, you want relaxing that's night. Yes. Thank you. Jank. Okay. The resignation of Jeff Sessions is attorney general has frankly been a long time coming and CNN's larger reports the frustration and tension between sessions and President Trump goes both ways. President Trump's request Jeff Sessions is out as a Torney general submitting his resignation letter to the president quote. I have been honored to serve as a Torney general and have worked to implement the law enforcement agenda based on the rule of law wrote sessions, Trump has made no secret of his disdain for his attorney general pointed in the attorney general for numerous reasons, but we haven't attorney general on disappointed in the attorney general for many reasons, then you understand. The long expected departure of one of President Trump's earliest supporters attorney general Jeff Sessions coming after months of blistering attacks. I said on the department of Justice, I would stay uninvolved. Now, I may get involved at some point. If it gets worse. At one low point Trump even going so far as to declare, quote, I don't have an attorney general's good to be with you all because session stepped aside from overseeing the Russian vested Gatien something that overshadowed nearly all of his twenty months at the Justice department. He took the job. And then he said, I'm going to recuse myself. I should what kind of a manage this. And despite all the tweets and withering critiques from his boss put an attorney general that never took control of the Justice department. Jeff Sessions never took control of the Justice department. And it's a sort of an incredible thing sessions rarely push back. The president speaks his mind. He says what's on his mind at the time. And he's been frustrated about my accused and other matters. But we have been so pleased and honored to be given the responsibility to exit his agenda at the department of Justice part of that is just this kind of case. And so I am pleased and honored to have that responsibility in will do. So as long as it's appropriate for me traditional picking his moments carefully and valuing in August that the Justice department will not be improperly influenced by political considerations publicly. He advanced the president's most controversial immigration policies, privately a source close to sessions, tell CNN he too has been frustrated that Muller's investigation is not yet completed and the attorney general hopes he will be remembered for never undermining the integrity of the department with sessions now gone his chief of staff Matt Whitaker will take over the department and the interim Whitaker are former US attorney from Iowa and former CNN contributor has served as sessions right hand man since September twenty seventeen but with sessions now gone the question is who will replace him. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has. Reportedly been asked about the job and has repeatedly said he's not interested others said to be in the running include former federal prosecutor and current Republican congressman John Radcliffe Boeing general counsel, Michael Ludwig, and others potentially in the mix or federal appeals court judge Edith Jones who sits on the fifth circuit and Janice. Rogers Brown who used to sit on the DC circuit, though, a source close to Brown. Tell CNN she is likely not interested Laura Jarrett, CNN Washington, and our thanks to large Erin for that piece. This just in current democratic minority leader, incoming likely house speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted, quote, it is impossible career attorney general sessions firing as anything other than another blatant attempt by President Trump to undermine and end special counsel Muller's investigation policy. Also, weighing in on the appointment of the acting attorney general adding quote, given his record of threats to undermine and weaken the Russia investigation, Matthew Whitaker should recuse himself from any involvement in Muller's investigation. Congress must take him meet action to protect the rule of law and integrity of the investigation on quote. And our panel is here with us to discuss this and David urban let me start with you as somebody who is closely allied with the White House. Are you surprised by this? Do you think it's wise? Sure slow news day. So. No, no news out there. So we need to make some news heads is completely surprising j- just for that fact. Right. I mean, the president had a news conference today where he's out there touting look we did great things we move the needle at our great agenda. And then you come to step all over the message. And you're onto another story and other kind of crisis here so to speak and do I did I see coming ever? He's kinda saw coming. We. We all knew the attorney general is kind of living on borrowed time. But today, the timing pretty pretty bad. I think the timing is the question inside the White House to but also Matt Whitaker being named as also a question. I asked several White House officials why not aim why not name the deputy attorney general as the attack. Attorney acting attorney general let's typically the process or something like this. And a lot of them did know or could it say, they know the President Trump likes Matt Whitaker. He has clearly we reported a few weeks ago on that plan to when the deputy attorney general thought he was going to resign. Fires. Whatever term you want to use met Whitaker was going to take over for. That spot. But I don't think a lot of people tied to west wing. Saw Matt Whitaker taking over as the acting attorney. Joe do you see this as Nancy Pelosi? Does this is all just about ending the Muller investigation. This is about ending the Muslim investigation. And I think there's a lot of angst in the White House and the three quick points to David's point if everyone else saw this coming. We know Robert Muller saw this coming. And so I do think that there's a high probability of some high profile targets. We've hear these stories about Donald junior all the time having sealed indictment out there just waiting, and I think that Muller has done a great job of protecting his investigation. But I disagree with Nancy Pelosi because if if she thinks that Whitaker is going to recuse himself, I think those chances are between statistically zero zero. That's that's not happening. And so the last thing that I would challenge while we still have this Senate and house, I do think that that. I know there's a Bill in the house and a Bill on the floor of the Senate to protect Muller. I think the American people probably. Will have some say in that. And try to get them to do that. When they come back November thirteenth. Muller's not going anywhere. I think that's a bridge. Too far president even recognizes that right? I do think you would see a human cry from the Republican side of the aisle. If malware would be dismissed, I think it's I think it's going to be wrapped up sometime soon. I think there's there's a great deal frustration. It's lingering on lingering on I think now the election's over. You're gonna see some resolution that pretty quickly. Maccari's point. I think the Democrats are probably calling for the wrong thing right now on there is legislation that worked its way through the Senate Judiciary committee was approved by the Republican Senate judiciary committee that McConnell just did not bring to the floor that would protect Miller the house can certainly do the same thing if they're putting the right pressure points right now, they would be pushing to protect Miller. I don't think we should sit here and take Trump or even Trump supporters at their word that Trump is not going to go there and fire Muller. He put Matt Whitaker in place because Matt Whitaker is more sympathetic to his views on Muller than Rosenstein. And that's an important piece of this. Do you agree American anthem? It's a bridge too far President Trump, I think it's likely that it is. But things can change every fifteen minutes as we have seen. Look, the improbably successful campaign to make Jeff Sessions sympathetic to basically, everyone continues apace that is something I've always been surprised about here. And I'm gonna make a political point just because we've got the moral and legal points covered as well. But today was actually a pretty decent day for. Lukens like last night was decent. Listen. It news was decent way. They can talk about it and publicans put Medina Senate seats is during. And this is indicative of what the next two years will look like just on bear political level of trying to control messaging for them serenity. Now, he cannot give us even one day of post-election people to pick their narratives and talk about them. This is where we go to happen for two years, Laura. We're talking about this in the previous hour, which is President Trump went out there this morning at the press conference and told Republicans if you're if you define me, I will change you as he did with all the Republicans who who distance themselves attack, the media and told Democrats if you investigate me, I will investigate you. And he did that knowing that this had happened. Of course. I mean, I suspect that even Jeff Sessions can't write this resignation letter. It'd be my time it took from the press conference. That's only time he was told to resign. You think about this issue in the wrong word is being circulated fired is not the only issue for Robert Muller. He could remain in place and have his legs cut out from underneath him. If you have somebody who's overseeing his probe who was carteling his efforts at subpoena power. Who's for telling his efforts and the budgetary concerns or maybe trying to guide or stymie the investigation other ways, but they're actually exist legislation that would help him one thing I've done Louis talking about was the notion of there is a four 'cause clause in his actual protective language would says that Muller fired for costs or dereliction of duty. So far you've heard from rod Rosenstein about less than a month ago, telling everyone, there's no reason to think that there's any duty or any reason to undermine it as a witch hunt. So you do have the four 'cause lingering and unless something changed from the mid term elections last night. So right now Muller should be a radically be safe under existing legislation. I don't think it's that far gone though to picture the president firing the special counsel because hey, he's tried to do it before which we know. So it's not like it's some area that he hasn't even come close to he's tried to do it before. And be what was one of the things he was tweeting about this morning when he was talking about the rash of election results from last night. He was citing poll saying that he believed Americans. Did not find the Muller investigation to be worthy of continuing going on. So the president can use that mentality or he clearly has that mentality. He thinks that his supporters and he's been surrounded by them for two weeks now saying which and having the crowd cheer agreed with him that this is a waste of time. And that he should end that is how the president reasons things not by being worried about what people on Capitol Hill. But forever everyone stick around? We're gonna take a quick break. 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A P P E R, ZipRecruiter dot com slash tapper. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. And we're back with the major breaking news. President Trump fired attorney general Jeff Sessions going from Trump loyalist to embattled attorney general after sessions recused himself from the Russian investigation. Now, the ex attorney general in his place at least temporarily is Matthew Whitaker. Let's go to CNN's Evan Perez and Shimon Peres for more on that. What can you tell us about the now acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker, Jake? You know, he's been a skeptic of the investigation. He is written an op-ed for CNN dot com in which he talked about his thoughts that that Muller had gone too far in the investigation and needed to be hemmed in and here who was discussing on Don lemon show just last year a away that a future acting attorney general could come in unlimit what Muller was doing take a listen to what he had the fake. You can see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced it with a recess appointment, and that attorney general doesn't fire Bob Muller. But he just reduces the budget so low that his his investigation grinds to almost an hall. Jake, obviously now, this is a big thing for wicker whipper to deal with certainly the Justice Department's ethics officials are going to have a say as to whether or not they believe this constitutes an appearance of conflict. And whether it means that Matthew Whitaker needs to recuse himself from this investigation. Obviously, this is something that is simply a vice that they would get from from people at the Justice doesn't necessarily have to follow it, Jake. And she moaned we saw Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, and incoming likely speaker Nancy Pelosi call on Whittaker to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation. I don't imagine that's going to happen. But is there any indication that it's even being considered? No there isn't and really, you know, his opinions of where this investigation was certainly when he was on CNN, and when he wrote the op-ed he was in a very different place when he gave that opinion. We don't think that he's been briefed on any aspects of this investigation. It will be now his job to give brief by Robert Muller and his team, certainly. Special counsel team on where things stand and the other thing, Jake, I think that's important to keep in mind. Right. Rod Rosenstein was overseeing the investigation would give Robert Muller. Certain permission Muller would have to go. Tim say, hey, I want to subpoena this one I want to do this isn't a grand jury. And then the big question is remember is whether or not if the president has refused to answer questions by the special counsel team would Robert Muller and his team subpoena. The president that now ultimately lies with Whittaker. He would have to tell the special counsel can go ahead since the president is refusing to answer your questions, you can go ahead and subpoena him. That's obviously unlikely to happen now. And that is where I think issues can come up in this investigation. Because this is the guy now that could tell Robert Muller, you know, you need to speed this up. You can't do this. You can't do that. Let's go. Let's go. We're done here that could happen in this case. And you know, one other point I wanted to make Jake is that we know certainly evident I and from people we've talked to that there are there were contingency plans in place. For something. Like this. The Justice department has been prepared for this. And certainly most importantly is the FBI were all of this evidence lives all of this intelligence lives. Where all the witnesses live all of that information. You can be rest assured. I think the public needs to know this is that that is going to be preserved by people at the FBI. Evan your sources signal the possible end to the Muller investigation after the midterms. What could end in the investigation under Whitaker mean? Right. I think a lot of people are focusing on whether Whitaker might try to end the investigation and all indications J gar that the probe is coming to a close probably perhaps as soon as the end of the year early next year. But what happens to brought Muller's report is now in the hands of Matt Whitaker, whether any of it becomes public, whether it even the report goes to congress all of that now lies in the hands of Matt Whitaker. And so that's I think even bigger and perhaps even more important question because you know, probably the the investigation. Is almost complete anyway. So the question now is what happens to Robert Muller's report. All right. Thank you so much Shimon in Evan. Joining me now is he's the former US attorney in this other district of New York also dismissed by President Trump, pre many speculated the attorney general sessions would be out after the election. What does this mean for you? What does this mean in your view for the Muller investigation? I think it's a time of great concern. We've been treated to overtime taunts by the president with respect to his attorney general taunts by the president with respect to the deputy attorney general both of whom were handpicked by President Trump because he's angry about the Russian investigation. And so for a long time, I think people have had confidence on both sides of the aisle that rod Rosenstein was acting in a professional way with respect to the mother investigation. He in fact, himself because the person who appointed Robert Muller and has said repeatedly in public statements and in congressional testimony that the special counsel's investigation is not a witch hunt. He hasn't seen. Inappropriate go on that. It should be supported it should not be interfered with. And so I think people felt comfortable that investigation would see its way to a proper conclusion in an orderly fashion so long as as rod Rosenstein was in charge of that investigation. So now you have the new person coming in. And it's been pointed out by by the reporters who are on just before me, you have someone who looks like he's prejudged. The mother investigation has talked about a reduction in the budget for the mother investigation has talked about a narrowing of the scope of the mother investigation all of which are things that are on the record that he said when he was on CNN and elsewhere. And so you have a concern that there might be an undue restricting of that investigation, and that it's not going to be allowed to complete. Its course the other thing you have to be concerned about given what President Trump has said over and over again about Jeff Sessions. The one thing that Jeff Sessions, we know for fact did ethically was consult with people in the Justice department and recuse himself, and that's the one thing that President Trump has hated about Jeff Sessions conduct. So you got to believe that the president got a different. Understanding in a conversation with me with Mr. Whittaker. Now, it may be that the Justice department has cleared it and the ethics people think it's okay from not to recuse himself. But given the statements that he's made and the prejudgment that that sounds like he's engaged in. I think you have caused great concern that he is not going to that investigation in the way that he might otherwise if he's making the same by the way before even knowing anything at all about what the special counsel was considering. Let's talk about Matt Whitaker for a second. He's going to serve as the acting attorney general he will now be overseeing the Russian investigation, not deputy attorney, general Rosenstein, and he does seem as you know, to to align with the president's view of the Muller investigation. He wrote in his CNN op Ed last week, quote, it does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump's finances or his family's finances falls completely outside of the realm of his two thousand sixteen campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else that goes beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel. So that's just one. Example of many of the things that Whitaker has said publicly about limiting the Muller probe one way or the other. You mentioned already that he had talked. He had hypothesized about how a recess appointment and acting attorney general could just star of the molar investigation in terms of budgetary support. Does that however constitute a conflict of interest and the need to recuse is he not allowed to have opinions and then come in and serve as attorney general yet. Look, I I don't know all the facts, I don't know all the things he said, I don't know exactly what the internal folks at the DOJ would say about it. I do think it raises a concern. I had issues from time to time as US attorney where it seemed like the best thing to do was to recuse myself. And there were times where the the internal ethics folks said specifically, you don't have to recuse yourself, and then sometimes given the nature of the issue, and given what people might think about it. Sometimes even if your ethics people tell you and anything any lawyer worth their salt would say the same. Thing. It's still better to step away from the case or step away from the the investigation. So that people have full confidence and given the stakes involved here and how much people are watching. And and how long it's been going on the things he said are going to cause people to have a question about what he does if he decides to restrict the investigation someone, by the way, the other thing that seems odd and wrong about the statement, you read from that op Ed by Mr. Whittaker is he doesn't know the basis on which the mother investigation may have been looking at the finances of the president, right? The the appointment letter by rod Rosenstein, makes very clear that the scope of the investigation was supposed to be relating to the campaign and possible collusion, but then also says and also any matters that arise from this investigation. So for example, if there were things that happened in the course of the mother investigation that brought to light other kinds of crimes that were taking place in came to their information and came to their knowledge and attention directly because of the investigation that's covered me in the scope of what of it rose. And Stein said so he was speaking a little bit out of school when he said those things I if Whitaker comes in and decides to limit the mole investigation one way, or the other would we ever know? I think in modern America and given the subpoena power that has just been handed to the House Democrats. I think we will know we may not know in real time. But we will know eventually, yes, the president the president did make the argument today that if he wanted mother fire he would've fired him already. Yeah. But look the president is a little more shrewd that people give them credit for. He does some things out in the open to make it seem like he's got nothing to hide, but they also may be evidence of criminal conduct or abusive power and house may consider that at some point. So just because the president has has not fired someone yet doesn't mean he won't do it in the future. And doesn't mean he doesn't want to minimize the damage to him in a political backlash to him. Look, he was very smart in some ways, depending on your perspective on how he dealt with Jeff Sessions. He could have said, look, you know, if I want to Jeff Sessions, I could've done it. But he waited he waited what he waited till hours after the midterm elections. So it wouldn't screw up his political chances in various races around the country. So I imagine some some similar kind of you know, strategizing is gone. On in his head with respect to molars. Well, it is very clear he wants to close up shop and stop and from his perspective. The question is always what's the best way to do it with the least amount of fallout. All right. Pre Berrara a man who knows about being fired by President Trump. Thanks so much appreciated Republican on the Senate Judiciary committee just weighed in on whether the new acting attorney general needs to recuse himself. What did he or she say that's next? Tired of spending hundreds of dollars for prescription glasses. Our friends at Zanny optical offer, a huge variety of high quality stylish frames and state of the art optics starting at just six ninety five. You can get multiple frames with this great pricing for less than one pair. Elsewhere start building your eyewear wardrobe from the comfort of your own home at Xeni dot com. With the latest trends in eyewear available in hundreds of frame styles and materials there isn't a better way to change it up for every season. Plus, there's any offers prescription sunglasses at incredible prices. Visit Xeni today at Xeni dot com slash CNN. That's Z E N N, I dot com slash CNN. Talent to the president this morning. We gotta find somebody who's president trust. It could get confirmed. A lot of good choices. I'm looking forward. Not backward. We've got a new chapter at the Justice. And I'm excited about the opportunity. Gosh, she's a positive person. That's an optimistic. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham moments ago, reacting to the news attorney general Jeff Sessions has been fired because sessions had recused himself from overseeing the Russian investigation. His dismissal means his replacement. Matthew, Whitaker, not only takes on the job of attorney general, but also becomes Robert Muller's, boss. Let me start with you. Because because Lindsey Graham at one point said, there would be holy hell to pay and Trump ever fired Jeff Sessions, he he revised that a little bit a couple of months ago as it became clearer that this relationship was not going to last. What do you make of what he just said? I don't know who Lindsey Graham is anymore. I mean, I served them for a long time. I've Cernan that started in a southbound general assembly for eight years, and you know, run statewide before in South Carolina. No, Lindsey Graham, very very well. You know, he's always been afraid of his shadow somewhat in, you know, he's always in campaign mode. He's always afraid of that challenge from the right? And people used to look at Lindsey Graham is being the the Saint Senator we have from South Carolina when we had Jim demint, they somebody who you could go to to get things done. But I think he's the prime example of wind. Donald Trump breaks in individual now, Lindsey Graham is very weak knee. He's no longer putting the country. I he's putting his party. I and there are a lot of us who've known as a longtime even Republican fringe, you talk to say, I have no idea who this man is on the other hand, you know, Whitaker. You know, Matt Whitaker, the the acting attorney general what can you tell us about? He's got a whole trail of tweets expressing. Lot of skepticism about have Bob Muller doing. That's a conservative guy believes got God and country kinda guy, right? President likes and has a lot of faith in him. And and look I think he's he's very intelligent. Obviously political ran for ran for Senate in the open seat there, which Joni Ernst send up wind up winning. And so Matt is a very bright guy was US attorney for the southern district. And I look I don't think he's going to go out. And and and and do anything the rash and get rid of get rid of Muller here. I think he's a really bright guy was going to stay the course. But I do believe that he he does believe there are certain limits is he's expressing this article about what can and can't be investigated the scope of the of the special counsel. Jen, minority leader Chuck Schumer released this statement, quote, given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the molar investigation. Mr. Whittaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time. As acting attorney general, do you think there is any chance of that happening? And is this even a battle democrat should be wait. He should there doesn't seem to be any appetite you need Republicans as well to partner to push him to do that. And there doesn't seem to be any app. Appetite to do that. You know, I think there's a very interesting time line right now because we have about seven weeks six weeks until the end of the year Whitaker can't serve indefinitely as acting attorney general he could recess appoint him. But a recess appointment only lasts through the through that congress, which there isn't a lot more time for I think the timing of this is very calculated by Trump in perhaps as a smart wicked political way in that he saw that he has more space on the Senate. Maybe he wants to get his attorney general confirmed, but he'd have to probably think about that starting January, and at that point Democrats have the house so Democrats are calling for a lot of things right now. They don't have a lot of power. They will have a lot of power in January that will allow them to do a number of things, and Mary Catherine, obviously Whitaker's been a skeptic of the Mel investigation before we took on this role as Jeff Sessions chief of staff, and now acting attorney general he wrote an op-ed for CNN last year and on the topic of whether or not Muller could investigate Trump's finances. He said, quote, it's time for Rosenstein, who's the acting attorney general for the purposes. As of this investigation to order Muller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel, if he doesn't then Muller's investigation will eventually start to look like a political fishing expedition. Do you have any concerns about whether or not he can supervise the the investigation in cases like this? It's best practices to. If you owe pined on this specific subject to make sure that it people have confidence by not putting yourself in that position. So you think he should recuse? I think that's probably the right thing. I think Jeff Sessions to the right thing, and it has ticked off Trump as we've seen ever since then. But I don't want to dismiss the idea that like special prosecutors should have limits on them. That's a long time and fair concern about the rights of investigations, but he's specifically commented on this. And I will say it's it's going to be difficult for both Republicans who went after Peter Struck to say that that having opinions did not allow him to do his job properly and Democrats to say who said oh struck total. Findings a great public servant like everybody's gonna switch teams once again and say that having a political opinion makes you unqualified. Now, what happens if he refuses were himself, which I'm I think we would all bet money is going to happen continue to serve as the acting g. I mean, he's not required to recuse himself the distinction between himself, and Jeff Sessions is that Jeff Sessions was a part of the campaign in a noted surrogate and the campaign itself was being investigated that was the basis on which the people who were internally and DOJ said, you should recuse yourself. I will say however that the idea of him Mckee is best practices. That's absolutely the case. But the thing about this particular individual is that he has not only done what people do not want. A Justice department will do which is to show that lady Justice is not blind. He has preconceived notions on the individual case. And I wanna hold him to his actual words. He's absolutely right. Rod Rosenstein, Robert Muller should be held to the four corners the investigation, which includes whatever whatever follows from the collusion. Investigators. Including finances. That's part of big not wants to be held to his word. Then he should welcome any opportunity to venture past you. Yeah. So I'm just going to say remember we used to have this independent counsel statute that both sides got rid of because it was a big. It was licensed to fish very narrow. This is supposed to be much more narrow. We didn't want those things we shouldn't have it here. All right. The new acting attorney general's not been shy about his feelings about the Muller probe even tweeting about it. What did he tweet? That's next. Remember to create an ad like this one visit pure winning dot com slash CNN. Breaking news. The United States now has a new acting attorney general that man Matthew Whitaker will oversee the Russia investigation. And he's made his feelings pretty clear about the Muller probe on Twitter in August. Two thousand seventeen Whitaker responded to a national review article, headlined Muller is squeezing Manafort with this comment, quote, one thought is Muller trying to catch Manafort in a line to congress case to exert pressure. After exert pressure being day after interview with staffers in another comment. Whitaker tweeted in response to this NPR headline those fervently depending on rubber shake up. The Trump presidency may be in for some disappointment. Stating the article is correct. It will be very difficult to ever see evidence discovered by mother grand jury investigation Whitaker. Also shared an opinion piece, titled quote note to Trump's lawyers do not cooperate with Muller Lynch mob Whittaker adding worth a read. Capitol Hill's beginning to respond to the breaking news of President Trump firing attorney general Jeff Sessions CNN sullen cer- Foudy is on the hill and son. Then what are you hearing? Well, certainly Jake specifically a lot of concern about acting AG Matt Whitaker a lot of those words that you just read the top Senate democrat top House Democrat both tonight calling for Matt Riddick Whittaker to recuse himself in the Russia investigation in certainly across the board. A lot of top Democrats. It's seen a lot of concern about what all of this means for the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Here's Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer earlier today. Protecting. Muller and his investigation is paramount. It would create a constitutional crisis. If this were pre lewd to ending or greatly limiting the Muller. Investigation, and I hope President Trump and those he listens to refrain from that. And we are also hearing from key House Democrats as well Jerry Nadler who stands to potentially take over the House Judiciary committee. He raised obstruction concerns earlier today and says that he could potentially investigate this decision to hire to fire sessions. Meantime, same similar sentiments coming from Elijah Cummings. The democrat who likely will take over the house oversight committee. So certainly a lot of top Democrats in their new-found majority in the house emboldened by this news and their reaction tonight. Jake or Sunlen Serfaty on the hill. I wanna bring Josh Campbell former specialist distant to former FBI director James Comey. Josh the president's been pretty transparent about his frustration with the now former attorney general sessions, what do you make of this decision? What do you make of the time? So I don't think any of us are surprised. In fact, I've been talking to someone former colleagues inside the FBI and one person described it as you know, as the media prepares a bitch worries for example to have on the shelf. This is what they were expecting with attorney general Jeff Sessions. They knew that his time was limited based on all the back and forth. That's been going on with the president one percent of. This is a very dangerous time potentially because of the person that they're now bringing in Mr. Whittaker and the fact that he's already been on record criticizing the molar investigation. Obviously, there's a conflict of interest there. And one thing that's interesting is that you in any case, Jake, it is inappropriate for the White House to be even perceived as influencing investigation doubly. So when that investigation pertains to the president himself. So I don't think we can overstate the gravity. What's going on here? I want to show some video right now, a deputy attorney general rod Rosenstein, leaving the White House. We just saw him. He was at the White House. We're not exactly sure why he was there. We're told it was for a previously arranged meeting. Although obviously eyebrows being raised his presence at the White House right now, Josh knowing what you know about Bob Muller would this change anything from his focus on the Russia investigation. So it's not going to change. Bob, molars focus though, but he may not be the person making the decisions here. Now up to this point that conventional wisdom has been that Bob Muller was protected so long as. Rod Rosenstein, was there that that has gone out the window. We can shuffle the deck on that conventional wisdom because now Rosenstein is not that barrier. He's not the person appears so Whitaker now will be supervising the investigation. So again, someone who's been on record criticizing being put in by the president that can only lead in one direction when you think about why he's actually there and potentially what could happen to Muller down the road. It's very troubling. I will say Jake that you know, one thing that we know based on the president's history with the department of Justice's every major personal changes that he's made at DOJ has involved seemingly some type of alterior motive, you had Sally Yates who obviously she divide the Muslim the immigration band. But she was also trying to sound the alarm on Michael Flynn. You had pre Peron who you talking to earlier who defied the presence attempt to, cultivate, a potential relationship with him. And obviously, my former boss James Komi, who, you know, the president was demanding loyalty from and he was trying to influence the investigation. Each of those instances we've seen some kind of other motive at play here with sessions that appears to be the same case he recused himself. That was obviously something that angered the present. It may be now that the president's putting someone in place who would be loyal to him based on some of the past statements that Whitaker's been on record saying and Josh how's this going over with rank and file in DOJ Justice department and the FBI. Yeah. So as I mentioned, I mean, the fact that sessions left was surprised no-one everyone assume that that was going to be the case. And the fact of the matter is on any given day, the attorney general doesn't directly impact the work of an FBI Asian or analysts out in the field. It's not something they think about, but again, when you have someone who's now being put in place who could potentially influence a very major investigation in a significant way that is something that is giving people that I've been great pause because they don't know where it's headed. They look at the facts, and you know, they can't draw a line through it. But it appears as though the president is clearing out obstacles to some, you know, possibly getting rid of Bob Muller significantly limiting his work. All right. Josh campbell. Thanks so much do Republicans on the Senate Judiciary committee need to speak out publicly over Jeff Sessions firing or are they better off staying silence. Stay with us. Anti-catholic March madness we sixty five on this week tradition. I'll be joined by Kansas head coach Bill right now. That's probably one of the biggest weaknesses our. Of our team those guys get outside their comfort zone. He had been good talkers. And really being a great leader. Does he can lead, by example? But he also got to have some people take charge. God's alum. According to get better. Is three sixty five now at apple podcasts. And spotify. Welcome back to breaking news coverage of President Trump's firing of his attorney general Jeff Sessions. The two men had been at odds over sessions decision to listen to the ethics lawyers at the department of Justice and recused himself from the Russian investigation. Joining me on the phone is democratic Senator maisy Rono Hawaii, she serves on the Senate Judiciary committee, and she was reelected last night with I think just seventy seventy one percent of the vote. Senator congratulations, your reaction your reaction to today's developments. It didn't take long for the president to act immediately predictive self because it's always about him all the time every time. So I e fires Jeff Sessions. And then he as Matthew Whitaker as the acting attorney general very very troubling knowing mister Whitaker's us about the investigation. You know, it raises, of course, a conflict of interest. This is our to Whitaker, and it certainly goes to the obstruction of Justice by the president. So by congress has to pass legislation predicts investigation, so you you and your colleagues on the Senate Judiciary committee already passed out of the committee legislation to protect Muller, Senator Mitch McConnell. The majority leader did not bring it up. I think he said he didn't feel there was any need to do. So do you believe that there will be any appetite by Republicans to do? So and and will there be perhaps a push by somebody like you or others to do? So before the end of this congress when you lose even more seats in January. Muller in this nation, basically to protect any special counsel out of the judiciary committee in a bipartisan way. And the only reason that that McConnell then bait on the floor with he says, oh, well, we don't need to do that. Because nothing's going to happen to Muller. And I don't know what it take, you know, maybe a ton of bricks has to fall on McConnell fan before he realizes recognizes what is actually going on. So certainly expect that the Democrats in in the Senate as low as they Democrats in the house will push to protect because that has to go on and the president's actions are so blatantly political to protecting south. That is I said it didn't take long for him to to do it. Obviously your parties your power is being part of the party, the minority party in the Senate are limited compared to your democratic colleagues in the house who are going to soon have the majority. What do you want them to do that? You are not able to do. It'll be able to investigate what's going on with the president. And my friend Jerry Nadler who with whom I search for six years in the US house. I know that he has already said that he wants to know what the president's motives are. I think we can pretty much conclude. What is more Zarin that is to protect itself? So I spent Jerry Nadler to be chairing the judiciary committee in the in the house and then to proceed with the what he needs to do to get to the bottom of this and to protect investigation. Do you think that this is where it ends that the that he he appoints a Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general and Whitaker maybe tries to keep two tries to shrink or or contract. The the bounds of the Muller investigation. Or or do you fear that they're more is going to happen? Investigation continues that this is yet more actions by the president that goes to obstruction of Justice. Does it doesn't Trump have the right to have as attorney general whoever he sees fit as long as that person is ultimately confirmed by the Senate. This is why the obstruction of Justice is such a big issue where Muller and obstruction of Justice is really it's a pattern. It's a cumulative effect of all of the actions that the president takes the motives behind those actions. And if he were just doing this as one off, then maybe so, but it's not it's a pattern of obstruction. There's no question that he's been wanting to in the Miller investigation from the very beginning calling it a witch. So the fact that they Russians interfered not only with the twenty sixteen. The this election twenty eighteen election. The president is totally motivated by the desire to protect himself. I hope everybody gets that. So your leader. The Senate minority leader democrat Chuck Schumer says that the interim attorney general the acting attorney general Matt Whitaker should recuse himself from the Russian investigation because he has said things about how he thinks that the the Russia investigation could theoretically be starved the funding or needs to be limited in scope, if first of all why would he need to recuse himself? I understand why you don't trust him to lead the investigation. But is there actually like a legal or ethical reason why he would need to do? So. Parameters to when required which is what mitt to just sessions. So he Whitaker made statements such as they would be out of bounds for them for the Muller investigation to go into Trump's family and and his own finances. And that it wasn't a problem for the the Trump people to take Trump the Trump Tower meeting, so these are oh matters of interest. And but surely he's allowed to have an opinion. He's allowed to have an opinion on these matters is and does his extension of those opinions mean that he needs to I'm I'm just not I'm not an attorney you are. So I'm just is there some sort of legal reason, why somebody who expresses an opinion could therefore not supervise an investigation about, you know, a the opinion of which he talked about. Expression opinion, that's fine. But when you put it in the context that he is actually going to be the person making decisions and overseeing an investigation that is an entirely different proposition altogether. So it's a free country anybody can express themselves, but he's going to be making decisions that will ultimately impacts investigation. And I think that he if this isn't a basis for I don't know what he'll means frankly center, I just want to ask you one more question about the results last night. I know you're upset that many of your friends democratic senators were not reelected. What do you make of those who say that Democrats overreached? When it came to the cavenaugh hearings and that hurt people such as Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota. Joe Donnelly in Indiana and Claire mccaskill in Missouri. Has their battles with the just Cavanaugh even before Dr for came over had a record of being against a women's like to choose reproductive rights. Environmental protection. There were any number of reasons to not be for him. And of course, Dr king forward and how she was treated by the judiciary committee that should have been total red flag. And as I said, it's bad enough that we have one person of a spring court with this kind of cloud. And now we have another supreme court should be above reproach. And now, I believe that you have two people on the supreme court why not above reproach? And that does not do the court any good. So, you know, my friends who who lost two principal positions, and I totally respect that their courage for it. And I wish other people would do the same thing. And no set John tester who the president went after tooth and nail in a very personal way has been. The election, right? For that. All right, Senator Maisey Harouna. Thank you so much coverage on CNN continues right now. Thanks for watching. There was no one light in new board game. There was new show parts. Ward winning CNN original series returns for one last ride around the world. Can Indonesia to story is Spain. Far west Texas chairs. Deign parts in the final episodes Sundays at nine on CNN. Before you go. We wanted to let you know that we just launched the ability for anyone to advertise on CNN podcasts. You're just a few clicks away from reaching millions of people in a way that you never have before advertise for a business event or kickoff and awareness campaign for your brand start today at pure winning dot com slash CNN, integrating podcast into your marketing. Mix has never been easier. 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