- President Trump says he had not discussed special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe with acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, the man overseeing the inquiry, at least for now.
- Whitaker has come under increasing scrutiny since his appointment on Wednesday because of his previous criticism of Mueller’s investigation.
- People close to the president say Whitaker’s public skepticism of the probe is what led Trump to first take an interest in him, according to The New York Times.
“I didn’t speak to Matt Whitaker about it, I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” Trump said.
Whitaker faces increasing scrutiny over his criticism of Mueller’s investigation.
Whitaker, a Trump ally, has accused Mueller of “going too far,” and once tweeted a message likening Mueller’s prosecutors as a “lynch mob.”
He told CNN last year that he could envision a scenario where the person overseeing the probe “reduces [Mueller’s] budget so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt.”
People close to the president said it was Whitaker’s public skepticism of the probe that drew Trump to take an interest in him, according to a report in The New York Times. The president appointed him on Wednesday, and has Whitaker’s comments should not disqualify him.