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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: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425873
Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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Tropical Depression Claudette has now moved into Alabama and Georgia, leaving with some cloud cover but dry conditions. Most of us will stay dry through this Father's Day but some spotty showers will likely through the late afternoon.
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