The resignation of the prosecutor could leave Russiagate in the air


Donald Trump's patience is over. Now that the mid-term elections are historic and before the Democrats take possession of their new majority in the lower house, they have forced the departure of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The decision of the American president jeopardizes the Russiagate case – which investigates Moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential elections. The temporary replacement of Sessions, Matthew Whitaker, had questioned the purpose of this investigation and had been declared an advocate to limit it.

Until now, the Justice Department number two, Rod Rosenstein, was in charge of supervising the case. But Whitaker, who was head of the attorney general's staff, will take control of him. In March 2017, Sessions refused to investigate his relationship with Trump's electoral team and why it was learned that he had hidden in the Senate two meetings with then Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kilyak. This step and the subsequent dismissal of FBI Director James Comey led to the appointment of a special attorney for the case: one of Comey's predecessors, Robert Mueller.

An independent special prosecutor

The leadership of Mueller – a respectable lawyer with an independent reputation because he led the federal police during the Bush presidency and Obama's early years – infuriated Trump. And since then, he has had a bad relationship with Sessions. His personal attacks on the attorney general and his threats to fire him have been a constant in the last year and a half.

At the beginning of his presidency he chose the then senator of Alabama, known for his tough ideas on immigration, as his accuser. Sessioni, moreover, was the first heavyweight of the Republican Party to support him during the primaries for the White House. But his good relationship soon became toxic, a few weeks after Sessions had sworn the accusation and was fired from the case of Russiagate. Trump felt betrayed, as the appointment of an independent prosecutor reduced his options to limit the investigation.

The American leader announced the resignation of Sessions Wednesday in a short tweet in which he also thanked her for her work. Subsequently, Sessions issued his letter of resignation to the media. Without effusive praise for the American president, he made it clear that his departure had been forced. "From the day I had the honor of swearing the position of the US Attorney General, I came to work in the Justice Department determined to do my duty and serve my country," he wrote.

Both Congressional Democrats leaders Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer said that Whitaker should be fired for comments he made on the Russian plot. The new interim attorney general, exfiscal of Iowa, explained in an article on the CNN website that the Department of Justice could reduce Mueller's budget to "almost completely stop" the case. "Mueller is about to cross a dangerous red line in his investigations," said Whitaker, who believes that the president's business should not be investigated.

The case has already led to 32 criminal offenses and guilt requests for Trump's four exciters. But important issues still need to be addressed that could drastically affect the rest of his mandate. Mueller did not comment on whether the president has committed an obstacle to justice when the director of the FBI fired, or if there was a collusion between his campaign and Moscow.

Whitaker, whom some media described as a "loyal" man to the American president, could have ordered Mueller to stop investigating a particular deal or reject the special prosecutor's request to extend the case or to quote Trump to declare it. Furthermore, it could reduce staff and economic resources and prevent the publication of its conclusions. However, in principle, he can not dismiss him without a clear cause, such as misconduct or negligence.

Democratic reaction

The Democrats, who took control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday during the mid-term elections, mobilized to protect the investigations. "The American people understand that no person is above the law and has asked for responsibility for their own government," said New York parliamentarian Jerrold Nadler yesterday in January – when the new Congress takes possession, he will become the chairman of the committee of justice of the lower house. Nadler also said that his party plans to initiate an investigation into the dismissal of the sessions, since they believe that Trump would be able to commit himself to hampering justice.

On the other hand, they are also considering a bipartisan commission to investigate Russian electoral interference, which could have Mueller's services. In this way, the work of the special prosecutor would no longer depend on the public prosecutor's office and would be protected by the legislators. Moreover, thanks to the majority they will have in the lower house, the Democrats could quote Trump to declare. New times start in Washington. A strengthened opposition will address the president if he decides to undermine the Russiagate case. And Trump made it clear that if he investigates he will fight them with the majority of the Senate and the support of their constituents.


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