Jeff Sessions out as attorney general

Jeff Sessions is out as US attorney general after President Trump asked for his resignation. CNN's Laura Jarrett reports.

Posted: Nov 8, 2018 8:39 AM
Updated: Nov 8, 2018 9:01 AM

New Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, whose appointment means he will supervise special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, has a personal tie to one of the witnesses in the probe: Whitaker was the campaign chairman for Sam Clovis in 2014 when Clovis ran for state treasurer in Iowa.

Clovis, the 2016 Trump campaign national co-chairman, said in a May radio interview that he has been interviewed by the special counsel's team and had testified before the Mueller grand jury.

Clovis was also listed an unnamed "campaign supervisor" in the indictment of former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, according to The Washington Post.

Both Whitaker and Clovis are rooted in Iowa politics, and both ran for the 2014 Republican Senate nomination. A 2014 press release announcing Whitaker's hiring said the pair became "great friends" during Clovis' US Senate bid that preceded his run for state treasurer.

It was Clovis, no stranger to TV and radio himself, who encouraged Whitaker to get a regular commentary gig on cable television to get President Donald Trump's attention, according to friends who Whitaker told at the time. Whitaker was hired as a CNN legal commentator last year for several months, before leaving the role in September 2017 to head to the Justice Department as chief of staff to now-former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Through his CNN role, where he was deeply critical of the Mueller probe, Whitaker got to know Trump, who saw him on TV and later met in person.

Democrats have slammed Whitaker's appointment to replace Sessions, arguing that Trump is trying to undermine Mueller and demanding that Whitaker recuse himself from supervising the Mueller investigation due to his writings and public comments attacking the investigation.

A personal connection to a Mueller witness is unlikely to sway Whitaker or the White House when it comes to recusal, as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein supervised the probe despite being a witness himself.

Whitaker was a fixture in Iowa conservative politics for years, but he remained on the outside edges, never able to win a race. He lost a bid for Iowa state treasurer in 2002 and the GOP Senate primary race in 2014 to now-GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.

"He's political to his core," a friend said of Whitaker.

Several GOP officials in Iowa who have known Whitaker for a long time say they were surprised by his shift in the Trump era. He was a George W. Bush loyalist -- named a former US attorney in Iowa under Bush -- but like many others, he has become a big admirer of Trump along the way.

"He worships him," a longtime friend said of Whitaker and Trump.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312712

Reported Deaths: 7223
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21445257
Hinds20264414
Harrison17785308
Rankin13548278
Jackson13401246
Madison10055217
Lee9959173
Jones8361163
Forrest7638152
Lauderdale7191240
Lowndes6361144
Lamar620686
Lafayette6164118
Washington5318133
Bolivar4796132
Oktibbeha460698
Panola4550105
Pearl River4493145
Marshall4393103
Warren4371121
Pontotoc419372
Monroe4089133
Union408876
Neshoba4022176
Lincoln3944110
Hancock376886
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335590
Tate332084
Pike3290105
Scott314973
Alcorn311268
Yazoo310269
Itawamba299277
Copiah296065
Coahoma293979
Simpson293888
Tippah287468
Prentiss278960
Marion268780
Leake265573
Wayne262241
Adams261882
Grenada260085
Covington256281
George246748
Newton246161
Winston226881
Tishomingo225467
Jasper220748
Attala214173
Chickasaw206957
Holmes188672
Clay184654
Stone181833
Clarke177879
Tallahatchie177840
Calhoun169732
Yalobusha162936
Smith162134
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125838
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104626
Claiborne102230
Benton99025
Humphreys96133
Kemper95328
Franklin83423
Quitman79916
Choctaw76018
Wilkinson66830
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 529446

Reported Deaths: 10930
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763031516
Mobile40850804
Madison34622501
Tuscaloosa25701451
Montgomery24289585
Shelby23367247
Baldwin21035307
Lee15822169
Calhoun14469313
Morgan14266279
Etowah13806352
Marshall12185222
Houston10533280
Elmore10029205
Limestone9948150
Cullman9640193
St. Clair9589239
Lauderdale9407239
DeKalb8814185
Talladega8199175
Walker7214277
Autauga6914108
Jackson6801111
Blount6635136
Colbert6288134
Coffee5498117
Dale4820111
Russell438438
Chilton4258111
Franklin424782
Covington4111117
Tallapoosa4004150
Escambia393076
Chambers3555123
Dallas3543151
Clarke350661
Marion3105100
Pike310177
Lawrence299798
Winston273672
Bibb260463
Marengo249064
Geneva247676
Pickens233659
Barbour230756
Hale222276
Butler215869
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184145
Randolph179241
Monroe177040
Washington167039
Macon158850
Clay155156
Crenshaw151957
Cleburne148341
Lamar141534
Lowndes138553
Wilcox126729
Bullock122941
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa106928
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
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Columbus
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We can expect plentiful sunshine Thursday with nice, warm temperatures. But going into the late afternoon and early evening, a brief disturbance could bring a quick round of showers and perhaps a thunderstorm through the area.
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