Donald Trump: I haven't discussed Russian Federation probe with Matthew Whitaker

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U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions' chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, will be acting attorney general.

Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets of major US cities to call for protection of the special counsel charged with investigating ties between Russian Federation and President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.

From a practical standpoint, one of the sources said, it would defeat the entire objective of naming him as acting attorney general since Trump railed against Sessions for recusing himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a career Justice Department official who has already been confirmed by the Senate, should have been named to the open position instead of Whitaker.

Democrats have called on Whitaker to recuse himself as he has previously made negative comments about the probe. They're wasting a lot of money, but I let it go on, because I don't want to do that. The move allows Whitaker to oversee a US probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election that has hung over Trump's presidency, and which Whitaker has criticized in the past.

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In a statement Thursday, the Republican said Whitaker is a "steady hand that will provide good leadership and judgment, and will ensure that the United States Department of Justice upholds the highest standards of the rule of law".

They said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should "continue to supervise" the Mueller probe as he has since a year ago.

Sources close to the matter told CBS News on Thursday that Christie, a one-time presidential candidate, is part of a list that includes former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, outgoing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, and former Attorney General William Barr, who served under President George H.W. Bush, CBS reported. FACT was meant to be the conservative answer to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a liberal watchdog group that on Thursdaycalled on Whitaker to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation. "At various opportunities - in print, on television, and through social media - you have suggested cutting the Special Counsel's budget or limiting his authority to follow lines of inquiry". Trump, a frequent critic of Acosta, said the reporter was a "very unprofessional guy" and insisted: "I don't think he's a smart person, but he's got a loud voice". Nancy Pelosi, presumed to become the next speaker of the house, said ousting Sessions can only be read as "another blatant attempt.to undermine & end Special Counsel Mueller's investigation".

"Therefore, Whitaker can not serve as acting Attorney General ... I'd like to know the truth", said Pat Noga, an Emmaus resident.

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