Any action by Whitaker could potentially be challenged under the Vacancies Reform Act Trump used to appoint his acting attorney general.
Sessions, who was an early backer of the Trump campaign, recused himself in March 2017 from overseeing the Russian Federation investigation under a similar rule which prohibits officials from overseeing investigations into subjects with whom they have a "a personal or political relationship". Trump's advisers are privately expressing worries that the special counsel, who's been out of the news for the past month, has been stealthily compiling information and could soon issue new indictments or a damning final report.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions stand for the national anthem at a graduation ceremony at the FBI Academy on the grounds of Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, U.S. December 15, 2017.
Trump saw the move as a betrayal and frequently and publicly criticised Sessions for making the decision to recuse himself.
In a July 10, 2017, appearance on CNN, Whitaker shrugged off the idea that the Trump Tower meeting could be part of a criminal conspiracy.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has been overseeing the Mueller investigation since Sessions recused himself from the investigation a year ago due of his involvement in Trump's campaign. That has convinced many opponents of Trump that the president has Mueller in his crosshairs.
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Critics worry that Whitaker may be unlikely or unwilling to defend the Department of Justice's independence against political interference by the White House, given his history of partisanship and loyalty to Trump. The president has verbally dismissed the Mueller probe, calling it a "witch-hunt" into his legitimacy in the White House. Tuesday's outcome effectively kickstarted the 2020 Presidential campaign in a country that is on a perpetual election cycle. He was a George W. Bush loyalist - named a former U.S. attorney in Iowa under Bush - but like many others, he has become a big admirer of Trump along the way.
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer immediately called on Whitaker to recuse himself from the probe as his predecessor had, "given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations" on it.
That drew criticism from Democrats in Congress because Whitaker, who would now take over responsibility for overseeing Mueller and his investigation, has been critical of the Mueller probe, saying it should be scaled back.
Whitaker also once worked as chairman of Sam Clovis' failed campaign for Iowa state treasurer in 2014.
The Mueller investigation is looking into alleged foreign government efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and includes possible links between Trump's campaign and the Russian government. Further, such a dramatic action would probably inflame not just Democrats but many congressional Republicans as well.
In Washington, DC, protesters called on Democrat and Republican legislators to put partisan divisions aside to avoid the possibility of a constitutional crisis.
Nevertheless he appealed to Republicans not "beholden" to Donald Trump to reign in any attempt to fire Mueller. "I could end it right now." he added.