Trump on new acting AG: “I don’t know Matt Whitaker”

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President Donald Trump is moving to distance himself from Matthew Whitaker as he faces criticism over his choice for acting attorney general.

Trump told reporters Friday “I don’t know Matt Whitaker” and said he didn’t speak with Whitaker about special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation.

Related: Acting AG Whitaker has thoughts on Mueller’s Russia probe

Whitaker has made public comments critical of Mueller’s investigation, and critics have called on Whitaker to recuse himself from oversight of the inquiry. Under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the investigation was overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Of the scrutiny Whitaker is facing, Trump said: “It’s a shame that no matter who I put in they go after.”

He also called Whitaker “a very highly respected man.” Whitaker was Sessions’ chief of staff before Trump made him Sessions’ interim replacement.

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