Upon learning the bombshell news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was out on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer quickly warned of a constitutional crisis.
A new attorney general must not interfere with the investigation from special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, the New York Democrat warned.
Schumer was handed a paper informing him of the Sessions news during a press conference. The senator told reporters that any tampering with the Mueller probe would amount to a “constitutional crisis.”
“Protecting Mueller and his investigation is paramount,” he said. “It would create a constitutional crisis if this were a prelude on ending the Mueller probe.”
Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’s chief of staff, was set to take over as the acting attorney general and with it the role of overseeing the Mueller investigation.
Schumer quickly followed up with more thoughts on Twitter, writing, “Clearly, the President has something to hide.”
He added in another tweet: “Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general.”
The senator said his comment about Trump having something to hide was in response to the president’s tweet announcing Sessions was out.
Trump posted a series of tweets on Wednesday. He wrote: “We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States. He will serve our Country well…. We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.”
A letter to Trump from Sessions announcing his resignation confirmed that the attorney general was forced out by the president. The opening line read, “At your request, I am submitting my resignation.”
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