"We'll see what happens over the next few days, but it is a concern because (Preisdent Donald Trump) obviously was unhappy with Jeff Sessions because of his recusal, but Jeff Sessions did what the law required him to do", King said in an interview at the school.
His agenda unsettled liberals who said that Sessions' focus on tough prosecutions marked a return to failed drug war tactics that unduly hurt minorities and the poor, and that his rollbacks of protections for gay and transgender people amount to discrimination.
Now Whitaker is in charge of the Justice Department and Rosenstein reports to him, putting Whitaker in a position to constrain the special counsel if he wishes or if he's directed to do so by the president. Senator Susan Collins and Mitt Romney said it should not be impeded in any way.
In fact, Trump has repeatedly referred to Mueller's probe as a "witch hunt".
Mueller is investigating Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 election and any collusion by Trump's campaign. "Congress must take immediate action to protect the rule of law and integrity of the investigation", Nancy Pelosi tweeted, citing Whitaker's "records of threats to undermine & weaken the Russian Federation investigation".
"The president's actions have plunged the country into peril", the Democrats added.
That's because Sessions had recused himself, calling it inappropriate that he lead an inquiry into Trump's 2016 presidential campaign of which he was a part.
Trump told associates that he felt that Whitaker would be "loyal" and would not have recused himself from the Russian Federation probe as Sessions had done, according to two Republicans close to the White House not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. The president had long complained about Sessions recusing himself from supervising Mueller.
He could also refuse to sign off on a subpoena of Trump if the president refuses to voluntarily speak to investigators.
That drew criticism from Democrats 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.
Asked if that would be to dwindle the special counsel's resources, Whitaker responded, "Right". Christie served as the head of the presidential transition team for several months before being replaced Vice President Mike Pence shortly after Trump's upset victory.
"Sessions did not do the thing he could have done to better protect Rosenstein, and through Rosenstein, the Mueller investigation", Vladeck said. In August 2017, he wrote a piece for CNN in which he stated that looking into Mr Trump's personal finances, or those of his family, "goes beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel". Whitaker, a former Republican politician, has publicly called for limits on the Mueller probe.
There had already been hints that Robert Mueller's pre-election "quiet period" was about to come to an end. As he steps into the new role, everyone is asking: Who is Matthew Whitaker? As acting attorney general, Whitaker will presumably - assuming he has no conflicts of interest - begin overseeing the special counsel's probe.
Protest organizers-a coalition that includes MoveOn, Rise and Resist, and PEN America-will demand that the House Judiciary Committee immediately begin hearings into the president for obstruction, and that the Senate establish a "Watergate-type Select Committee" to investigate Trump's ties with Russian Federation.