He wouldn’t know him from a hole in the wall
President Trump claims he doesn’t know his own pick for acting Attorney General — and has never discussed the Russia investigation he’ll be overseeing with him.
Trump said Friday that Matthew Whitaker was “highly thought of” but stressed he does not know him “personally.”
“I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” the President said, adding that he didn’t speak with Whitaker about special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference that has resulted in four Trump associates taking plea deals.
Whitaker has publicly criticized Mueller’s investigation, echoing the President in calling it a “witch hunt.”
Critics have called on him to recuse himself from oversight of the inquiry, which under Sessions was overseen by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.
“It’s a shame that no matter who I put in they go after,” Trump said, adding, “You didn’t have any problems with Matt Whitaker when he worked for Jeff Sessions.”
Whitaker served as Sessions’ chief-of-staff for the past year.
Trump also pushed back on the idea that Whitaker, who formerly served as a former U.S. district attorney in Iowa, is ineligible to serve as attorney general because he hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate.
The President argued Mueller wasn’t Senate confirmed, “so don’t talk to me about Whitaker.”
The special counsel's office is not subject to Senate confirmation, while the attorney general is. Mueller was also confirmed by the Senate as FBI director in 2001.