Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker will not terminate special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference and possible coordination with the Trump campaign, the Associated Press reports.
According to a government official who spoke to the news agency under the condition of anonymity, Matthew Whitaker told Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in a Thursday meeting that Mueller’s Russia probe will continue.
The alleged meeting between Whitaker and Graham came following a legislative push to protect Mueller’s investigation, AP notes, as a bipartisan group of senators continues to call for a special counsel bill to be added to a year-end spending bill that must pass in December. This push comes amid fears that Whitaker will terminate Mueller’s Russia probe — which had previously been overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, but is now being overseen by Donald Trump’s acting attorney general.
Matthew Whitaker’s appointment has caused widespread controversy, and the push to protect Mueller comes as no surprise considering the fact that the acting attorney general is considered to be a staunch critic of the Russia probe. What fueled the speculation that Whitaker might terminate Mueller’s probe was the resurfacing of his 2017 op-ed penned for CNN, in which the now-acting attorney general — at the time Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff — argues that the special counsel’s office is “crossing the red line” by probing Trump’s finances. Whitaker went on in the op-ed to call for the appointment of a new attorney general willing to limit the scope of Mueller’s Russia probe.
Trump's new attorney general 'says Mueller investigation will continue' https://t.co/mCtsDPdtpS
— The Independent (@Independent) November 16, 2018
“If he were to continue to investigate the financial relationships without a broadened scope in his appointment, then this would raise serious concerns that the special counsel’s investigation was a mere witch hunt,” Whitaker writes. “If Mueller is indeed going down this path, Rosenstein should act to ensure the investigation is within its jurisdiction and within the authority of the original directive.”
As detailed by a previous report from the Inquisitr, in a recent interview President Trump appeared to admit that he had appointed Whitaker to terminate Mueller’s investigation. But, according to Associated Press‘ sources, Mueller will be allowed to bring the Russia probe to an end. Furthermore, earlier this week, a Justice Department spokesperson said that Whitaker will follow protocol and consult with ethics officials “on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal.”
Donald Trump has referred to Mueller’s Russia probe as a “witch hunt” on multiple occasions. In a Thursday morning Twitterstorm, according to the Atlantic, President Trump was unusually specific in his attack on Mueller — accusing the special counsel of pressuring witnesses and calling the investigation a “disgrace” to the United States of America.