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Trump on Wednesday named Matthew Whitaker to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Warning of an impending constitutional crisis if action is not taken to protect Robert Mueller, congressional Democrats demanded on Sunday that acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker recuse himself from overseeing the the special counsel's investigation and warned of a showdown in Congress if Whitaker does not.

Schumer's comments came as he announced that he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, along with other key Democrats, were sending a letter to Lee Lofthus, the top ethics officer at the Justice Department, asking for Lofthus to let them know if he had advised Whitaker to recuse himself from oversight of the Mueller investigation.

Collins said in a statement Friday that she's concerned about comments made by Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, whom President Donald Trump appointed after he fired Jeff Sessions this week.

A group of about 100 in front of the Old Capitol in Iowa City chanted "hands off Mueller" and called for protection of the investigation of potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

"Rosenstein is much, much, much more subject to recusal than Whitaker", Dershowitz said.

"I heard the word "gays" and "cages" and I went somewhere insane", Bennett's Pence said.

While some speculated the "46" in his Twitter handle MattWhitaker46 referred to a future run at president-Trump is the 45th USA president-it ostensibly refers to his jersey number, 46, when he played with the Iowa Hawkeyes football team from 1989 to 1982.

Whomever Trump nominates for the job will be asked to promise senators that he or she will allow Mueller to complete his work.

Schumer also asked Trump for "specific reasons" why he installed Whitaker in the attorney general's office rather than Rosenstein, who is next in the line of succession.

Whitaker wrote an op-ed article saying Mueller would be straying outside his mandate if he investigated Trump family finances.

As long as Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress, Democrats have been hampered in pursuing any significant probes of Trump and his administration, and he made it clear he expects the Senate to follow that course.

"I look forward to working with Matt Whitaker as he takes the helm of the Justice Department".

Democrats also have argued that Whitaker's appointment is unconstitutional - a matter Nadler said "very well may be tested in court".

Mueller-a distinguished public servant who by all accounts is a Republican-and his team have achieved significant results in an investigation of deep importance to US national security, including guilty pleas in which former high-ranking officials of the Trump campaign have voluntarily and openly admitted criminal conduct. Later in the day, Trump tweeted that he did not personally know Whitaker, a former federal prosecutor in Iowa, but several Republican leaders in that state respected him.

'It's someone who has a relationship with one of the important witnesses in the investigation, ' he said, referencing Whitaker's role running the Senate campaign of Sam Clovis, a Trump campaign official who was interviewed by Mueller's team. The report also states that the investigation began as early as June 2017.