Mainers rally in Augusta to support Mueller probe after Sessions ouster


An early political supporter who was in lockstep with much of Trump's domestic policy agenda, Sessions's fatal mistake appears to have been his decision to recuse himself from overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation-a move that Trump openly criticized as a "betrayal", even though Sessions acted on the advice of career Justice Department ethics officials.

The rally took place at Thomas Paine Plaza as people joined in a nationwide protest to respond to the hiring of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.

The move means that Whitaker will oversee Robert Mueller's investigation into potential coordination between Russian Federation and Trump's 2016 campaign.

Democrats poised to take charge of House committees come January are signaling that they want to investigate the replacing of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

Sessions resigned as attorney general Wednesday at the request of President Trump. The groups were prepared to quickly organize a rally in the event that Mueller's investigation seemed at risk.

The protesters challenged the legality of Whitaker's appointment by Trump, saying they thought the next in line for the position was Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

They said Rosenstein has "ably supervised" the special counsel investigation to this point and show continue to do so.

Whitaker has questioned Mueller's authority to investigate aspects of Trump's election campaign and suggested how to end the investigation: by cutting its budget.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions stand for the national anthem at a graduation ceremony at the FBI Academy on the grounds of Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, U.S. December 15, 2017.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump's legal team has begun working with the president to craft responses to questions from Mueller's team as part of their investigation, sources close to Trump told ABC. What? Because he has an impression what the Mueller investigation should look like is different from what Senate and House Democrats believe? But Trump has long sought greater visibility into the probe.

The probe cost more than $16 million during its first year, according to figures released by the Justice Department in May.

Whitaker has indicated to associates that he has no intention of recusing himself from overseeing the special counsel probe. According to the department's most recent report, $10 million was spent from October 1, 2017, through March 31.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller (2nd L) leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. A dense web of regulations and professional guidelines govern how Justice Department lawyers are supposed to handle potential conflicts of interest.

David Bosel, a retired political scientist, described Trump's attempts to scupper the Mueller investigation as "dictatorial" and accused most Republicans in Congress of helping Trump tilt the United States towards "fascism".

Sen. Angus King said Thursday that Congress should pass legislation to protect the Mueller probe.