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.

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Eastern Europe

Europe

Government and public administration

Government organizations - US

Investigations

Legislation

Matt Whitaker

Mitch McConnell

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

Russia

Russia meddling investigation

US Congress

US political parties

US Republican Party

US Senate

"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

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 68293

Reported Deaths: 1944
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5656118
DeSoto368031
Harrison253036
Madison244368
Rankin229235
Jackson228843
Jones191659
Forrest182056
Washington168942
Lee147941
Lauderdale141192
Neshoba128692
Lamar122614
Oktibbeha112739
Bolivar111834
Warren109533
Lowndes108538
Panola106214
Sunflower105425
Scott100320
Lafayette98317
Copiah95728
Leflore94765
Pike93836
Holmes90049
Grenada84921
Yazoo83312
Lincoln83241
Pontotoc8308
Simpson80330
Monroe80155
Leake79025
Wayne77421
Coahoma77213
Tate73629
Marshall7019
Marion68420
Union64316
Adams62925
Winston62316
Covington62113
George5895
Pearl River55439
Newton54311
Tallahatchie53011
Attala52325
Walthall50120
Chickasaw47019
Noxubee45912
Alcorn4345
Tishomingo4216
Calhoun4209
Prentiss41710
Claiborne40913
Smith40613
Clay39714
Hancock39514
Jasper3889
Itawamba37510
Tippah36713
Tunica3517
Clarke32626
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3228
Yalobusha31510
Humphreys29411
Quitman2701
Carroll26111
Greene25512
Perry2437
Amite2356
Webster23512
Kemper23414
Jefferson Davis2336
Wilkinson21113
Stone2055
Sharkey1995
Jefferson1957
Benton1431
Choctaw1354
Franklin1312
Issaquena262
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99926

Reported Deaths: 1781
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13258244
Mobile10517207
Montgomery6835149
Madison544734
Tuscaloosa423076
Baldwin365125
Unassigned363064
Shelby330936
Marshall318937
Lee270047
Morgan241118
Etowah216232
DeKalb183013
Calhoun180717
Elmore173138
Walker153964
Houston141912
Russell13872
St. Clair135418
Limestone134913
Dallas133123
Franklin128820
Cullman122712
Colbert120716
Lauderdale118919
Autauga117421
Escambia108717
Talladega104814
Jackson10144
Tallapoosa86579
Chambers84438
Dale83525
Clarke82610
Blount8124
Chilton8097
Butler76736
Coffee7646
Covington73720
Pike7087
Marion58026
Barbour5765
Lowndes57324
Marengo56515
Hale47826
Bullock46611
Winston45711
Perry4454
Washington44312
Bibb4425
Wilcox43210
Monroe4215
Pickens4049
Randolph40310
Conecuh39310
Sumter36418
Lawrence3512
Macon33914
Crenshaw3265
Choctaw28712
Cherokee2758
Henry2643
Clay2635
Geneva2631
Greene25211
Lamar2292
Fayette2125
Cleburne1271
Coosa1033
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Broken Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 76°
Columbus
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 75°
Oxford
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather