DNC chair: Sessions ouster doesn't pass 'smell test'

DNC chair: Sessions ouster doesn't pass 'smell test'
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Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE on Thursday said that Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLewandowski says he's under no obligation to speak truthfully to the media Nadler considering holding Lewandowski in contempt Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing MORE’s ouster as attorney general “doesn’t pass the smell test,” arguing that both parties need to support special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal MORE’s completion of the Russia investigation.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE on Wednesday tapped Matthew Whitaker, Justice Department chief of staff, as acting attorney general, taking the reins from Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinHouse Democrats seeking Sessions's testimony in impeachment probe McCabe's counsel presses US attorney on whether grand jury decided not to indict US attorney recommends moving forward with charges against McCabe after DOJ rejects his appeal MORE on oversight of Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election interference in 2016.

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“What happened yesterday doesn’t past the smell test,” Perez told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, D.C. He called Whitaker an “acknowledged partisan,” citing his past criticisms of the Mueller probe.

“What occurred yesterday is incredibly troubling at a minimum.”

The transition of power from Sessions to Whitaker prompted an immediate rebuke from Democrats, citing Whitaker’s open criticism of the Mueller probe.

Whitaker has written past op-eds, including for The Hill, where he claimed the investigation has gone “too far” and also previously called for Rosenstein to “limit the scope” of the probe.

Perez said Sessions’s ouster was “worse” than the 1973 “Saturday Night Massacre,” a reference to when former President Richard Nixon called on Watergate special prosecutor Archibold Cox to be fired. He called for the “independence and resources” needed for Mueller to complete his probe.

The DNC chairman said there should be a bipartisan support for allowing Mueller to do his job until the investigation’s conclusion. He cited Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump fires back at Graham over Iran criticism Overnight Defense: GOP wary of action on Iran | Pence says US 'locked and loaded' to defend allies | Iran's leader rules out talks with US Republicans wary of US action on Iran MORE’s (R-S.C.) past comments that there will be “holy hell to pay” if Trump ousts Mueller.

“This is going to be a test whether they’re going to live up to that,” Perez said about Republicans who have defended Mueller’s probe.

“I hope it’s not just Democrats calling to make sure the Mueller investigation proceeds. This isn’t about right versus left. This is about right versus wrong.”