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.

Confirmed Cases: 110592

Reported Deaths: 3171
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7731171
DeSoto655177
Harrison478481
Jackson429178
Rankin380086
Madison371092
Lee339279
Forrest292777
Jones281682
Washington250697
Lafayette241342
Lauderdale2329130
Lamar212038
Bolivar197775
Oktibbeha194154
Neshoba1795111
Lowndes173662
Panola164736
Leflore158786
Sunflower156749
Warren151854
Monroe143672
Pontotoc143019
Pike135555
Lincoln133954
Copiah133336
Marshall130026
Coahoma122836
Scott122729
Grenada119637
Simpson117648
Yazoo116933
Union113825
Holmes113060
Tate112339
Leake111839
Itawamba108724
Pearl River107456
Adams104042
Prentiss100919
Wayne97921
Alcorn94412
George93217
Marion92642
Covington90825
Tippah84820
Newton84227
Chickasaw81724
Tallahatchie81725
Winston81421
Tishomingo78640
Hancock76527
Attala76325
Clarke70948
Clay66621
Jasper66016
Walthall63427
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith57716
Claiborne53016
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence48914
Yalobusha47914
Perry47522
Carroll45812
Greene44717
Stone44614
Amite41513
Quitman4096
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39311
Webster36313
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31615
Benton3004
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26210
Franklin2283
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 152272

Reported Deaths: 2621
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22300372
Mobile14273314
Tuscaloosa9886132
Montgomery9615196
Madison895192
Shelby700260
Lee643066
Baldwin636967
Marshall425348
Calhoun408459
Etowah399149
Morgan393232
Houston362332
DeKalb313326
Elmore308152
St. Clair276742
Limestone268327
Walker264192
Talladega253634
Cullman223923
Lauderdale204340
Autauga198928
Franklin198131
Jackson197914
Russell18993
Colbert188927
Dallas184527
Blount182723
Chilton178731
Escambia170328
Covington164429
Coffee16299
Dale161551
Pike130112
Tallapoosa126986
Chambers126643
Clarke126116
Marion103929
Butler99640
Barbour9819
Marengo96421
Winston88613
Geneva8297
Pickens79317
Randolph79314
Lawrence78830
Bibb78513
Hale73729
Cherokee71414
Clay70312
Lowndes69827
Bullock63417
Henry6286
Monroe6259
Washington62012
Crenshaw58830
Perry5796
Conecuh55413
Wilcox55412
Fayette54012
Macon52819
Cleburne5207
Sumter46421
Lamar4555
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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