Schiff: ‘Abundantly clear’ Sessions was forced out for not ending Mueller probe

Schiff: ‘Abundantly clear’ Sessions was forced out for not ending Mueller probe
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Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse erupts in anger over Jan. 6 and Trump's role Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections Lobbying world MORE (D-Calif.) argued Wednesday that outgoing Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDemocrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases Unsealed documents detail Trump and Biden efforts on reporter records MORE submitted his resignation because he failed to end special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's investigation.

Schiff, who is poised to become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee after Democrats won the House in the midterms on Tuesday, added in a statement that Sessions's ouster places Mueller's probe into Russian election interference in "new and immediate peril."

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"It is abundantly clear that Sessions was forced out for following the advice of ethics lawyers at the Department of Justice and recusing himself from the Russia probe, and for failing to bring about an end to an investigation that has produced multiple indictments and convictions and may implicate the President or others around him," Schiff said.

The statement from Schiff came just hours after Sessions issued his resignation at President TrumpDonald TrumpNew Capitol Police chief to take over Friday Overnight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Michael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip MORE's request. Trump announced on Twitter that Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’s chief of staff, would take over as acting attorney general.

The decision means that Whitaker, who has been publicly critical of certain elements of Mueller's probe, will oversee the investigation. 

“Whitaker, who the President announced will serve as Acting Attorney General, has been publicly critical of Special Counsel Mueller and has argued, without legal basis, that the Special Counsel is prohibited from investigating the President’s finances even if they are relevant to the Russia probe," Schiff said. "In fact, this may be precisely why the President has chosen to put Whitaker in this role."

Schiff concluded by saying that any interference in Mueller's probe would "cause a constitutional crisis." 

Multiple Democratic lawmakers echoed Schiff's remarks in the hours following Sessions' ouster. Rep. Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHere's what Congress is reading at the beach this summer Activists see momentum as three new states legalize marijuana Supreme Court expansion push starts to fizzle MORE (D-N.Y.), who is set to become the House Judiciary Committee chairman, said that Americans "must have answers immediately" on why Sessions resigned. 

The congressman also said Tuesday night that Trump was about to learn "that he’s not above the law."

Trump has repeatedly called Mueller's probe a "witch hunt," and on Wednesday said he could fire everybody with ties to if if he wanted. But he added that he would not do that for political reasons.