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Trump: Mueller probe decisions up to Whitaker

President Donald Trump said "it's going to be up to him" when asked if he would accept any move by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to curtail special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, in an interview on Fox News.

Posted: Nov 19, 2018 5:13 PM
Updated: Nov 19, 2018 5:25 PM

The appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker two weeks ago should have no effect on an ongoing court challenge that questions the constitutionality of special counsel Robert Mueller's appointment, the Justice Department argued in a new court filing Monday.

"The President's designation of Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker on November 7, 2018, has no effect on this case," which deals with an attempt to force a Roger Stone associate to testify before a grand jury, the special counsel's legal team wrote in the filing.

"Whitaker's designation neither alters the Special Counsel's authority to represent the United States nor raises any jurisdictional issue," the prosecutors wrote. "Nothing exceptional about this case warrants a departure from standard procedure."

The case involves Andrew Miller, an associate of Stone's who was subpoenaed earlier this year. He refused to testify before the grand jury, even after a trial-level judge ordered he must. The judge held Miller in contempt of court, so he has taken his case to the federal Court of Appeals. Generally, Miller seeks to invalidate Mueller's work. He argues that Mueller cannot subpoena him because the special counsel was not appointed by the President nor confirmed by the US Senate.

The Justice Department legal team, led by longtime federal lawyers currently working for Mueller, says Mueller was properly appointed last May by then-acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and continues to work at the discretion of Justice Department leadership.

"The validity of the Special Counsel's appointment at that time cannot be retroactively affected by a change in the official who is serving as the Acting Attorney General in November 2018," the prosecutors wrote. "The Special Counsel continues to hold his office despite the change in the identity of the Acting Attorney General."

In Miller's own response to the Whitaker question, also just filed, his legal defense team agrees that nothing in his case changes with Sessions' departure and Whitaker's appointment.

A panel of three appellate judges had heard arguments on Mueller's constitutional power two weeks ago, one day after Sessions left the Justice Department and Whitaker took over. Sessions had been recused from overseeing the Russia investigation because he had acted as a witness early in the probe. Rosenstein, who had appointed Mueller in May 2017 and signed off on the special counsel's office's work since then, was able to hand oversight back to Whitaker with the attorney general's office turnover. The appellate judges had asked both sides to provide extra responses about the Justice Department's change in leadership.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 266598

Reported Deaths: 5852
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17807191
Hinds16967332
Harrison14298204
Rankin11280221
Jackson10976190
Lee9088145
Madison8619169
Jones6782118
Forrest6236124
Lauderdale6128192
Lowndes5564120
Lafayette5229101
Lamar507465
Washington4951125
Bolivar4149109
Oktibbeha409482
Panola388281
Pontotoc378560
Warren3698103
Monroe3693110
Marshall358570
Union357764
Pearl River3508106
Neshoba3499154
Leflore3122109
Lincoln307688
Hancock296362
Sunflower293075
Tate281162
Alcorn273554
Pike271081
Itawamba270063
Scott260849
Yazoo257156
Prentiss254554
Coahoma251555
Copiah250749
Tippah250150
Simpson243872
Leake238467
Marion225973
Grenada224272
Covington222473
Adams215371
Wayne215034
Winston207771
George204839
Newton200046
Attala197464
Tishomingo195661
Chickasaw189644
Jasper182538
Holmes172268
Clay167537
Tallahatchie157535
Stone152925
Clarke148662
Calhoun141822
Smith130726
Yalobusha123835
Walthall115037
Greene114529
Noxubee114126
Montgomery112736
Lawrence107617
Carroll106922
Perry105331
Amite102426
Webster97424
Claiborne89725
Tunica89321
Jefferson Davis88930
Benton86523
Humphreys84824
Kemper81020
Quitman7149
Franklin70717
Choctaw63813
Wilkinson59925
Jefferson57121
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 443009

Reported Deaths: 6662
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson649101007
Mobile31746574
Madison28413217
Tuscaloosa21566275
Montgomery20088332
Shelby19452132
Baldwin17333189
Lee13261107
Morgan12678142
Etowah12141181
Calhoun11555206
Marshall10487123
Houston9031164
Limestone838181
Cullman8296124
Elmore8243110
Lauderdale7946107
DeKalb7900107
St. Clair7876130
Talladega6523112
Walker6050183
Jackson603245
Colbert558194
Blount548586
Autauga540762
Coffee466964
Dale412785
Franklin377550
Russell358415
Chilton346873
Covington340880
Escambia339244
Tallapoosa3163109
Dallas313696
Chambers305470
Clarke303336
Pike265231
Lawrence255855
Marion254661
Winston234742
Bibb222948
Geneva213047
Marengo210531
Pickens200431
Hale186144
Barbour183438
Fayette178829
Butler174860
Cherokee166031
Henry160025
Monroe152621
Randolph146636
Washington142727
Clay130746
Crenshaw124845
Macon122837
Cleburne122125
Lamar120622
Lowndes116836
Wilcox108322
Bullock104628
Perry100518
Conecuh98022
Sumter90627
Greene77923
Coosa64018
Choctaw52124
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