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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 SessionsTrump to oust Nielsen as early as this week: report Acting AG will meet with DOJ ethics officials to discuss possible recusal: reports Swalwell calls acting AG an 'assassin' hired to 'take out' Mueller probe MORE’s ouster as attorney general “doesn’t pass the smell test,” arguing that both parties need to support special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s completion of the Russia investigation.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to oust Nielsen as early as this week: report California wildfire becomes deadliest in state’s history Sinema’s Senate win cheered by LGBTQ groups MORE on Wednesday tapped Matthew Whitaker, Justice Department chief of staff, as acting attorney general, taking the reins from Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinDem leaders request formal update from DOJ on whether Whitaker should recuse himself How Trump can pull off ultimate trick to make Mueller disappear Dems race to protect Mueller probe 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 GrahamElection Countdown: Florida braces for volatile recount | Counties race to finish machine recount | Trump ramps up attacks | Abrams files new lawsuit in Georgia | 2020 to be new headache for Schumer | Why California counts its ballots so slowly Trump, California battle over climate and cause of fires Schumer’s headaches to multiply in next Congress 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.”