After Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to resign by Mr. Trump, Matthew G. Whitaker was appointed as acting attorney general. Whitaker was appointed to also replace Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Whitaker has received much criticism as has functioned as a primary defender of Mr. Trump. However, it has been reported that he has also criticized Trump on several occasions including asserting that the president should release his tax returns.
According to The Washington Post:
‘Whitaker has repeatedly suggested that Trump plays with the truth. He has said Trump should release his tax returns and was “self-serving” in the way he fired FBI director James B. Comey. Whitaker said during the run-up to the 2016 election that neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton were very good options for the presidency.’
‘I mean, both these candidates are unlikable.’
In June 2017, Whitaker said on a radio show:
‘Sometimes I wonder if anybody has the president’s ear or if he just kind of watches news accounts and responds to, which is a little dangerous.’
The Post reported:
‘As a media commentator, Whitaker criticized the special counsel’s investigation. He also lauded Trump for putting the country on the right path and praised his media savvy and penchant for keeping his opponents off-balance.’
Whitaker’s appointment could be considered surprising in light of the fact that the now-acting attorney general has openly made many candid and disapproving comments of Mr. Trump. Trump had repeatedly criticized Sessions for his lack of loyalty and for recusing himself from oversight of the special counsel investigation.
On Thursday, it was officially revealed that Mr. Trump has become a major subject of interest in Mueller’s Russia investigation. According to The Post:
‘New evidence from two separate fronts of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation casts fresh doubts on Trump’s version of key events involving Russia, signaling potential political and legal peril for the president. Investigators have now publicly cast Trump as a central figure of their probe into whether Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.’
After Trump accused former president Barack Obama of ordering surveillance on his presidential campaign, Whitaker said in an interview on a radio show:
‘I don’t know if it was to throw everybody off the trail or what. But it was a little outlandish, to say the least.’
Whitaker was asked again about it two days later on a conservative-talk-radio station in Chicago, to which he responded:
‘President Trump will just sort of say these things that puts Comey and others in the law enforcement community and the intelligence community on their heels kind of trying to respond to these, you know, claims whether they’re true or not.’
On the same day, Whitaker spoke again to another radio audience in Miami suggesting that Trump fabricated the whole thing. He said:
‘There’s only one of two answers. One is that the new president discovered this information as he assume[d] the position of president or he’s completely made it up whole cloth.’
To say the least, Mr. Trump is in a very politically damaging place, and he has strategically placed Whitaker because of the fact that he holds veto power over major decisions made by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The world is watching to see how this unfolds.
Here’s what Twitter had to say:
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