President Donald Trump’s acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, will oversee special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
“The Acting Attorney General is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice,” a spokesperson for the department said Wednesday when asked if Whitaker would oversee Mueller’s investigation.
Trump announced in a pair of tweets minutes earlier on Wednesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions would be replaced by Whitaker, who was Sessions’ chief of staff at the Justice Department. Sessions had resigned at Trump’s “request,” according to his resignation letter.
It was not immediately clear how the staffing change will impact Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is currently overseeing the Mueller probe.
Whitaker argued in an August 2017 op-ed for CNN that Mueller’s investigation is “dangerously close to crossing” the so-called red line not to look into the Trump family’s finances.
Less than a month earlier, Whitaker had defended Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., for accepting a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 with Russian officials who had promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign.
“You would always take that meeting,” Whitaker said on CNN.
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SOURCE: CNBC, Kevin Breuninger