President Trump said on Friday that he hasn’t discussed the ongoing Russia investigation with new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and complained that Special Counsel Robert Mueller hadn’t undergone Senate confirmation — even though he doesn’t need to.
“I didn’t speak to Matt Whitaker about it,” Trump told a gaggle of reporters as he left the White House to fly to Paris. “I don’t know Matt Whitaker. Matt
Whitaker has a great reputation and that’s what I wanted.”
The president noted that he could’ve hired someone “from the outside” to replace ousted AG Jeff Sessions — who announced his resignation Wednesday — but “I didn’t want to do that.”
“When Sessions left, what I did very simply is take a man who worked for Sessions,” Trump said. “He’s a highly respected man, especially by law enforcement, and I think he’s going to do a great job.”
Trump then tried to take a shot against Special Counsel Robert Mueller for not being “Senate confirmed” — while also claiming that Whitaker, the former US attorney of Iowa, has been.
“A big complaint people have — Mueller was not Senate confirmed … why didn’t they get him confirmed?” the president wondered. “So he’s doing a report, he wasn’t Senate confirmed. Whitaker was Senate confirmed.”
He continued railing that Mueller “should have been Senate confirmed but because of all the conflicts, they didn’t want to bring him before the Senate.”
All 93 US attorneys — in the US, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands Guam and Northern Mariana Islands — are appointed the president and don’t need to undergo a Senate confirmation hearing.
Whitaker was appointed to the post by President George W. Bush in 2004.
As special counsel, Mueller also didn’t require Senate confirmation.
Trump also attacked a female reporter when she asked him if he wanted Whitaker to “rein in” Mueller.
“What a stupid question that is,” he snapped at the reporter who was off camera. “What a stupid question. But I watch you a lot — you ask a lot of stupid questions.”
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