As Sessions ousted, SC protesters to join nationwide call for Mueller protections

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Minutes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions' exit was announced by the White House, Sessions' chief of staff Matt Whitaker was named as acting attorney general.

The two have had a strained relationship ever since Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation probe - Trump did not wait long for the midterm dust to settle to seek his resignation, which immediately put congressional Democrats on high alert for the possibility of any interference with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

That left cannabis policy observers scrambling to find out where the temporary replacement at the top of the Department of Justice, Sessions' Chief of Staff Matthew Whitaker, stands on marijuana.

Neither Christie, Bondi nor the White House immediately responded to a request for comment.

Any action by Mr Whitaker could potentially be challenged under the Vacancies Reform Act Trump used to appoint his acting attorney general.

The departure was the culmination of a toxic relationship that frayed just weeks into Sessions' tenure, when he stepped aside from the Russia investigation because of his campaign advocacy and following the revelation that he had met twice in 2016 with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that "protecting Mueller and his investigation is paramount".

A handful of Republicans joined in the chorus, including Utah senator and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney who wrote on Twitter it was "imperative. that the Mueller investigation proceeds to its conclusion unimpeded".

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Installing Whitaker could clear the way for Trump to force out Mueller.

Gonzales said if a decision is made to curtail or end the Mueller probe, that shouldn't be made by the acting attorney general, but someone within the normal lines of the chain of authority, either the deputy attorney general or the solicitor general.

The president can not directly fire the special counsel.

On the very morning after Kobach lost his bid for the Governor's Mansion, a new job opening has some people thinking Kobach may get a spot in President Trump's Cabinet - and it may not take much more than two seconds.

Under the special counsel regulation, Mr Whitaker has the power to block any "investigative or procedural step" Mueller recommends, such as bringing an indictment or subpoena, if he determines it to be "inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices".

The ouster of Sessions ended a partnership that soured nearly from the start of the administration and degenerated into one of the most acrimonious public standoffs between a commander-in-chief and a senior Cabinet member in modern U.S. history.

The broadsides escalated in recent months, with Trump telling an interviewer that Sessions "never had control" of the Justice Department.

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