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Democrats Say They May Tie Legislation To Protection Of Russia Probe


Protesters gather in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., on November 8.

A leading Democrat says his party is looking at introducing a bill to Congress that would protect the probe investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with President Donald Trump's campaign.

Speaking on CNN's State Of The Union television show on November 11, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said his party may tie a measure to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller to must-pass legislation if acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker does not recuse himself from overseeing the investigation.

"If he stays there, he will create a constitutional crisis by inhibiting Mueller or firing Mueller. So Congress has to act," Schumer said.

"We Democrats, House and Senate, will attempt to add to must-pass legislation, in this case the spending bill, legislation that would prevent Mr. Whitaker from interfering with the Mueller investigation," he added.

Whitaker has made public comments critical of Mueller's investigation, and critics have called on Whitaker to recuse himself from oversight of the inquiry.

Under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the investigation was overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Whitaker was Sessions' chief of staff before Trump made him Sessions' interim replacement.

Trump has denied discussing the ongoing investigation with Whitaker before appointing him as acting attorney general last week.

Trump, who has repeatedly said he has the authority to fire Mueller, an independent counsel appointed by the Justice Department, has frequently called the Russia investigation a "witch hunt" and complained that Sessions had done nothing to rein it in.

Earlier on November 11, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said during an appearance on CBS's Face The Nation that he was "confident" that Whitaker wouldn't put any political pressure on Mueller and instead allow him "to come to a good, solid conclusion."

With reporting by CNN and CBS
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