Washington, DC- Thousands protested across the United States on Thursday to demand that President Donald Trump not impede Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
"It is ORDERED by the Court on its own motion that each party submit a supplemental brief addressing what, if any, effect the November 7, 2018 designation of an acting Attorney General different from the official who appointed Special Counsel Mueller has on this case", the order says, giving the parties a deadline of Nov. 19.
President Donald Trump distanced himself Friday from his new acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, whose past business ties and comments on the Russian Federation investigation and other topics have drawn scrutiny. Before joining the Trump administration in 2017, he was a vocal critic of the Mueller investigation, at one point going so far as to speculate as to how a future attorney general might "grind  [the investigation] to nearly a halt" by limiting its budget.
"No matter who I put in, they go after him", he said. The investigation is looking into U.S. allegations of Russian meddling in the election two years ago and any possible coordination between Russian and the Trump campaign, which the president denies. Several hundred people gathered in South Straub Park.
The Democrats said they also want the Justice Department to protect the integrity of Mueller's investigation and to preserve relevant documents. "We think it's important that people come out and make their viewpoints known".
The Pennsylvania lawmaker answered questions about changes atop the Justice Department a day after Jeff Sessions resigned as attorney general at the president's request. "In my role as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I look forward to meeting with acting Attorney General Whitaker soon and have confidence he will do a professional job in this position".
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Department of Justice spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores declined to comment.
Sessions recused himself from overseeing a probe in March 2017, shortly after taking office. Whitaker, who was serving as chief of staff for Sessions, was not serving a post that required Senate confirmation. Avoiding this step, meanwhile, would significantly increase the risk that Whitaker's supervision of the Mueller investigation will violate long-standing requirements-a risky behavior for the chief USA law enforcement officer to exhibit, even (or perhaps especially) if Whitaker may be acting at President Trump's implicit direction.
In Manhattan, the demonstrators shouted, "Trump is not above the law!"
The President's comments are at odds with the relationship Trump has forged with Whitaker in recent months, even as his opinion of Sessions continued to sour. Whitaker, he said, has not sought his advice.
The mayor, who has gotten into it with the president on Twitter, added: "It is a shocking abuse of power".
Attorney general Sessions has been temporarily replaced by Trump loyalist Matt Whitaker who has publicly called for the end of the probe.
"President Trump has fired the attorney general".
"We are watching what appears to be continued obstruction by this White House", Pocan said in a telephone interview.