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Swalwell: Whitaker hired to 'kill' Russia probe

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) argues that President Trump's new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker was brought on because of his views of the Russia investigation.

Posted: Nov 13, 2018 4:22 PM
Updated: Nov 13, 2018 4:51 PM

The Justice Department is expected to issue an opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel on Tuesday that will defend Matthew Whitaker's appointment as acting attorney general under federal law, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Almost immediately after President Donald Trump appointed Whitaker last week, various high-profile lawyers, professors and former Justice officials have weighed in on the legality of the move and more formal legal challenges are widely expected soon.

Some legal scholars -- as well as George Conway, the husband of Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway -- have said they thought Whitaker's appointment is unconstitutional because he is not a Senate-confirmed official. Yet others have argued that the appointment is valid because he's only serving on a temporary basis under the Federal Vacancies Act.

OLC serves as the chief interpreter of federal law for the administration, but its conclusions are not binding on federal courts, and Tuesday's opinion is unlikely to abate the brewing controversy over Whitaker's appointment.

Top Democrats on Capitol Hill have slammed Trump's decision to appoint Whitaker as acting attorney general, skipping over Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein -- the next Justice official in the succession line who is Senate-confirmed and was previously overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. While Rosenstein is still managing the probe on a day-to-day basis, Whitaker's critics have worried that he could take steps to curtail Mueller's work given his past fierce criticism of the probe.

Others have demanded that Whitaker recuse himself from oversight of the investigation.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told CNN Monday that Whitaker will follow all ethics rules.

"Acting AG Whitaker is fully committed to following all appropriate processes and procedures at the Department of Justice, including consulting with senior ethics officials on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal," Kupec told CNN.

The department declined to get into specifics on whether he has initiated that review. As of last week, CNN reported that had not yet happened, and Whitaker has given no indication he believes he needs to step aside.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 338079

Reported Deaths: 7523
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23409440
DeSoto23069280
Harrison20064328
Rankin15119290
Jackson14743251
Madison10806227
Lee10568179
Jones8864169
Forrest8408159
Lauderdale7684243
Lowndes6917151
Lamar683789
Lafayette6502124
Washington5551139
Pearl River5060150
Bolivar4923134
Oktibbeha484798
Panola4739112
Warren4690127
Marshall4670106
Pontotoc442873
Monroe4293137
Union429179
Neshoba4232181
Hancock417788
Lincoln4148116
Pike3605113
Leflore3587125
Tate351488
Alcorn346474
Sunflower344994
Adams338488
Scott336676
Yazoo335673
Simpson319290
Copiah319068
Itawamba312480
Coahoma311585
Tippah300568
Prentiss295063
Covington287183
Marion281780
Leake281575
Wayne274643
Grenada267588
George266251
Newton258964
Tishomingo238070
Winston236284
Jasper227548
Attala223373
Stone219437
Chickasaw217560
Holmes197674
Clay194654
Clarke184480
Tallahatchie182742
Calhoun179432
Smith177535
Yalobusha170240
Walthall144448
Lawrence140026
Greene137634
Amite135643
Noxubee134235
Perry132438
Montgomery131544
Carroll125431
Webster119132
Jefferson Davis114234
Tunica113227
Benton105925
Claiborne104831
Kemper101429
Humphreys99833
Franklin86723
Quitman84319
Choctaw81819
Wilkinson76532
Jefferson70428
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 574737

Reported Deaths: 11492
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson839571589
Mobile46611857
Madison36938532
Tuscaloosa26841465
Shelby26769255
Montgomery25853624
Baldwin24213326
Lee16897181
Calhoun15210332
Morgan14990289
Etowah14721369
Marshall12855235
Houston11661292
Elmore10727217
St. Clair10587250
Limestone10535158
Cullman10323204
Lauderdale10044253
DeKalb9335191
Talladega8797187
Walker7659286
Autauga7456114
Jackson7295117
Blount7233139
Colbert6614142
Coffee6117131
Dale5393117
Russell467742
Chilton4666117
Covington4623125
Franklin447281
Tallapoosa4420157
Escambia425282
Chambers3880125
Dallas3707163
Clarke366462
Marion3413106
Pike326979
Lawrence3211101
Winston293972
Bibb282965
Geneva274283
Marengo259067
Barbour245161
Pickens239662
Butler237672
Hale232378
Fayette225064
Henry206645
Randolph196144
Monroe195041
Cherokee194548
Washington179339
Macon168352
Crenshaw165058
Clay163659
Cleburne159945
Lamar149738
Lowndes144854
Wilcox129831
Bullock126042
Conecuh119530
Coosa116729
Perry109928
Sumter108732
Greene98336
Choctaw63925
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 77°
Feels Like: 83°
Columbus
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 84°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 75°
Starkville
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 84°
Thursday will be another very hot and very humid day across Mississippi and Alabama. Many areas will be well above 100 degrees with the heat index, some even as high as 120 degrees in the Delta of Mississippi.
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