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 SessionsBudowsky: Senate must protect Mueller from Barr, President Trump Feinstein grappling with vote on AG nominee Barr Central American women fleeing domestic violence deserve refugee status 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 TrumpPentagon update to missile defense doctrine will explore space-base technologies, lasers to counter threats Giuliani: 'I never said there was no collusion' between the Trump campaign and Russia Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles 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 RosensteinLive coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing The Hill's Morning Report — No new negotiations as shutdown hits 25 days Democrat previews Mueller questions for Trump’s AG nominee 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 GrahamCentrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter Overnight Defense: Four Americans killed in Syria suicide attack | State of the Union becomes latest shutdown flashpoint | Missile defense review on track for Thursday release White House condemns 'terror attack' that killed US troops in Syria 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.”