Americans rally in Vancouver in support of special counsel Robert Mueller

Fears for Russia probe as Trump fires Jeff Sessions

An appeals court that's hearing a legal challenge to special counsel Robert Mueller's authority requested Friday that the parties involved file briefings on how the takeover of acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker - who's taking charge of the probe with the Wednesday firing of Attorney General Jeff Session - may impact the case.

Crowds also turned out in Chicago; Greensboro, North Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee, and many other places.

In Chicago, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin joined several hundred protesters at Federal Plaza.

Matthew Whitaker, 49, a Republican lawyer said to be a Trump loyalist, assumed oversight of the inquiry after the president promoted him from chief of staff to Jeff Sessions, who was sacked as attorney-general on Wednesday. On Wednesday, Trump fired the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and named Whitaker as his replacement at the justice department. He questioned Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's ability to give Mueller such wide latitude and wanted to explore the bounds of what Mueller was examining, though Rosenstein kept Session's office "walled off" from the matter, this person said.

Few if any House Democrats were publicly using the "I" word after the Republicans' devastating political losses in what the Founding Fathers called "the people's house".

"Bob Mueller believes in an America run by the rule of law and not a tyrant", she said.

In a column he wrote in August 2017, Whitaker said that Mueller had "come up to a red line in the Russian Federation 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing".

"The attorney general receives a regular flow of information about the special counsel's actions; he can demand an explanation for any of them; and he has power to intervene when he deems it appropriate to prevent a deviation from established Departmental practices", Mueller wrote.

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"The American people like and respect fighters, and they have elected us to put a check on the executive branch", said California Democrat Ro Khanna. When Comey ran the FBI, Trump asked him whether he was a target in the Russian Federation meddling investigation. Trump, who denies any collusion, has long complained about the probe, calling it a witch-hunt.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has walked back the vow he made a year ago that there would be "holy hell to pay" if President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"The whole issue of presidential harassment is interesting", McConnell told reporters, when asked what Senate Republicans would do if Democrats attempted to obtain Trump's tax return.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Speakers encouraged attendees to contact their representatives in Washington, D.C. and call for the acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, to recuse himself from the investigation, as Sessions had done. Mueller's direct spending during that period was about $4.5 million.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller (2nd L) leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. Look, it's the Department of Justice investigation; it's not a congressional investigation.

"Congress has to step in, and protect this investigation".

Sen. Angus King said Thursday that Congress should pass legislation to protect the Mueller probe.

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