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Capitol Report: Acting Atty. Gen. Whitaker could cut Mueller’s budget | Government shutdown threat receding

November 08
21:52 2018

Matthew Whitaker

As acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker could sharply curtail special counsel Robert Mueller’s authority, cut his budget or order him to cease lines of inquiry, the Washington Post writes.

Whitaker will assume final decision-making authority over the special counsel probe instead of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Post cited a Justice Department official as saying. Whitaker’s appointment prompted calls by congressional Democrats and government watchdog groups for Whitaker to recuse himself, citing critical comments he made about Mueller’s investigation.

See: New acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker wanted limits on Mueller’s Trump probe.

Also read: ‘It is imperative’ that Mueller probe continue unimpeded, says Mitt Romney.

Shutdown threat receding: Bloomberg reports prospects for a December government shutdown are receding after Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections. President Donald Trump backed away from his earlier threats of a “good shutdown” to extract concessions from Democrats who are resisting funding his proposed border wall with Mexico. While he didn’t rule out closing the government, he said at a news conference on Wednesday that he thought he could reach a deal with Democrats.

House Republicans gear up for leadership elections: House Republicans are gearing up for their leadership elections next week, with candidates promising they’ll spend the next two years helping their party reclaim their lost majority, Roll Call writes. “I helped build a majority from a deeper hole than this, and I have what it takes to do it again,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California said in a letter to colleagues. “That is why I have decided to run for Republican Leader and humbly ask for your support.”

McCarthy, the current House GOP No. 2, is not running uncontested for the top Republican post. Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan wants to be minority leader too, although he does not appear to have the level of support McCarthy does, Roll Call says.

See: Here are the post-election stock-market winners in the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq.

Also read: What a Democrat-controlled House means for labor laws and the minimum wage.

Abrams won’t accept Kemp victory declaration: CNN reports Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams is refusing to accept Republican rival Brian Kemp’s declaration of victory in the Georgia gubernatorial race and is considering legal action in the high-profile contest. CNN hasn’t projected a winner in the race. Kemp was ahead of Abrams, according to CNN election results. If no candidate receives 50%, there will be a runoff in early December.

Robert Schroeder is the White House reporter for MarketWatch. Follow him on Twitter @mktwrobs.

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