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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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
Lauderdale6067192
Lowndes5490120
Lafayette511794
Lamar499865
Washington4904125
Bolivar4087109
Oktibbeha403581
Panola380981
Pontotoc374757
Monroe3651106
Warren3649103
Union353263
Marshall352069
Neshoba3464154
Pearl River3422105
Leflore3090109
Lincoln304287
Sunflower290373
Hancock288461
Tate279062
Alcorn270754
Pike268180
Itawamba266662
Scott256048
Yazoo253756
Prentiss251153
Copiah247649
Tippah247550
Coahoma245954
Simpson241471
Leake236167
Grenada222471
Marion220273
Covington219072
Adams212370
Wayne208432
Winston205870
George203539
Newton197346
Attala196461
Tishomingo193861
Chickasaw188444
Jasper177838
Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
Amite100826
Webster95424
Tunica88221
Claiborne87825
Jefferson Davis87727
Benton84823
Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
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