McConnell, top Republicans dismiss concerns over Whitaker appointment

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans believe that ...

Posted: Nov 10, 2018 6:34 AM
Updated: Nov 10, 2018 6:34 AM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans believe that Matthew Whitaker will only stay as acting attorney general for a short time, flatly dismissing suggestions that he would interfere with Robert Mueller's Russia investigation while also rejecting calls for new legislation to protect the special counsel.

McConnell told Kentucky reporters Friday that "I don't have any advice to give the administration on" whether Whitaker should recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe, as Democrats have been demanding.

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"All the Cabinet members serve at the pleasure of the President. He's decided to make a change," McConnell said. "I think this will be an interim, a very interim AG. I expect we'll get a new nominee pretty quickly for the job."

The Republican leader also dismissed demands by Democrats and some Republicans to quickly pass legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee that would make it harder to fire the special counsel.

"Like I've said before, it's not necessary. The Mueller investigation's not under threat," McConnell said. "The President said repeatedly he's not going to dismiss the Mueller investigation. He's said repeatedly it's going to be allowed to finish. That also happens to be my view."

Asked why he was so confident, McConnell said: "The President's certainly expressed his point of view about how he feels about the investigation, but as you can imagine we speak frequently. There's never been any indication that he wants to dismiss Mueller or the investigation. It's going to be allowed to finish."

McConnell's comments reflect how Senate Republicans have ignored -- or dismissed -- the growing alarm among Democrats that Whitaker was named to the post with the express purpose of interfering with the Mueller investigation. Top Republicans, including Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham, who may chair the committee in the next Congress, both have praised the Whitaker appointment. Grassley and Whitaker had a brief courtesy call on Thursday, an aide said.

Republicans do expect that Trump will nominate someone else to the post and that confirmation hearings would take place next year when the GOP is expected to have a slightly larger majority in the Senate. But Republican sources say that the timing of the nomination may be complicated by the yet-to-be called Senate races in Arizona and Florida. The outcome of those races would impact the size of the GOP majority and would give an indication of how much flexibility Trump has in choosing a nominee who may endure a bruising confirmation process.

Graham, who met with Trump on Thursday, told a local South Carolina TV station that Whitaker would keep the job "on an interim basis." He said Trump was considering a long list of potential candidates, including outgoing Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, whom the senator is "in the mix."

On the Mueller investigation, Graham told WLTX in Columbia, South Carolina: "You need not worry he'll be allowed to finish the job."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 3255
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7973177
DeSoto703979
Harrison522384
Jackson457884
Rankin394086
Madison383194
Lee357380
Forrest304678
Jones292484
Washington258399
Lafayette250443
Lauderdale2478135
Lamar225538
Oktibbeha202454
Bolivar201677
Neshoba1849111
Lowndes179962
Panola170040
Leflore167187
Sunflower162349
Warren154855
Monroe150673
Pontotoc147220
Marshall143129
Lincoln140157
Pike138456
Copiah137536
Scott125429
Coahoma124937
Grenada122638
Yazoo122234
Simpson121549
Union118825
Tate116839
Leake115041
Holmes114760
Itawamba113925
Pearl River113660
Adams108544
Prentiss106120
Wayne101722
Alcorn100112
George99218
Covington97527
Marion95042
Tippah90322
Newton86627
Chickasaw85526
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84121
Hancock84028
Tishomingo81241
Attala79426
Clarke75851
Clay69321
Jasper68717
Walthall63927
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59817
Smith59416
Montgomery54923
Yalobusha54514
Claiborne53716
Tunica53517
Lawrence51814
Perry49423
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47514
Humphreys43816
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41011
Webster37613
Benton3416
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32615
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27610
Franklin2423
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23129377
Mobile16849315
Tuscaloosa10296140
Montgomery10197197
Madison928096
Shelby733863
Baldwin663769
Lee653465
Calhoun456761
Marshall438150
Etowah426551
Houston414834
Morgan412035
DeKalb338829
Elmore320053
St. Clair292542
Limestone284230
Walker277292
Talladega265335
Cullman244024
Lauderdale226242
Jackson214915
Franklin205231
Autauga204831
Colbert200532
Russell19443
Blount192525
Chilton186932
Dallas186527
Coffee176311
Dale175151
Covington174029
Escambia172530
Chambers135044
Clarke134317
Pike133513
Tallapoosa131787
Marion107629
Barbour10319
Marengo100822
Butler100740
Winston92213
Geneva9007
Lawrence85032
Pickens84718
Bibb82814
Randolph82316
Hale76730
Washington74412
Clay74112
Cherokee73314
Lowndes70928
Henry7086
Bullock64817
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60630
Perry5896
Fayette57413
Wilcox56712
Conecuh56113
Cleburne5568
Macon53420
Lamar4905
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
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