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Protesters marched through downtown Chicago Thursday night to call for the federal investigation into Russian election meddling to be protected, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at the president's request Wednesday.

Protesters believe Sessions' resignation will lead to the undoing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump presidential campaign. Justice Department officials said his taking over for his boss was, at the very least, "awkward", because chiefs of staff typically leave with the attorney general. He questioned Deputy Attorney General Rod J. 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.

Professor Scott Lucas of the University of Birmingham described the situation as "unprecedented" but said the Democrats would likely have a plan in place should Trump make a move on Mueller through the acting attorney general or a future appointment.

Schumer and other leading Democrats were joined in their call for an unhampered probe by Republican Mitt Romney, a former presidential candidate and frequent Trump critic who won a US Senate seat in Tuesday's midterm. It's possible he'll still play a role in the Mueller investigation, but the Justice Department made clear Wednesday that Whitaker "is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice".

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A replacement for Mr Mueller though would have no such constraints, potentially allowing Mr Trump to hamstring the investigators.

It was Clovis, no stranger to TV and radio himself, who encouraged Whitaker to get a regular commentary gig on cable television to get President Donald Trump's attention, according to friends who Whitaker told at the time.

Mueller's probe has since reached plea deals with or indicted a number of Trump associates.

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. Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said he wants "answers immediately" and "we will hold people accountable". I'm confident the White House is looking for someone who the President and country can have confidence in, and be confirmed by the Senate.

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Rosenstein no longer will oversee the special counsel investigation. The "independent DOJ" theme is meant to weaken President Trump and succeeding Republican presidents, and Mueller's Switch Project represents an institutionalization of Barack Obama's Department of Justice, in permanent opposition to the president whom the American people elected.

"Committees will also be investigating Attorney General Sessions' departure".

The protests come a day after Trump fired Sessions, who had angered the president by recusing himself from the Mueller investigation.

As reason for his recusal, Sessions cited news reports of two undisclosed meetings he had with Sergey Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador to Washington.

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"The president's actions have plunged the country into peril", the Democrats added.