Recusal debate follows Trump’s acting AG pick

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on November 9, 2018 - Duration: 01:34s

Recusal debate follows Trump’s acting AG pick

President Donald Trump's pick for acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, is a close friend of Trump's 2016 election campaign co-chair, and that friendship is raising questions about whether Whitaker should oversee Robert Mueller's Russia probe.

Nathan Frandino has more.


Recusal debate follows Trump’s acting AG pick

UPSOUND: "Whitaker must recuse.

Whitaker must recuse." Protesters rallied in cities across the U.S. on Thursday, condemning President Trump's appointment of Matthew Whitaker to be the nation's acting attorney general.

Critics alleging Whitaker's contacts and past comments make him unfit to oversee Robert Mueller's Russia probe, calling on him to recuse himself.

Trump named Matthew Whitaker to the Justice Dept's top post on Wednesday, after firing Jeff Sessions, who had angered Trump by recusing himself from the probe into Russian election meddling and giving it to his deputy Rod Rosenstein.

The Department of Justice says now Whitaker, Sessions former chief of staff, will himself oversee Mueller's probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia..

Another concern: Whitaker's longtime friendship with Trump 2016 campaign co-chair Sam Clovis.

The two became friends when running against one another in a 2014 Senate primary campaign in Iowa.

Clovis has since testified before the grand jury in the Mueller investigation.

A former government ethics chief says Whitaker's friendship with Clovis should disqualify him from supervising the Mueller probe.

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment.

Attorney George Conway, husband of Trump advisor Kellyann Conway, on Thursday said in a New York Times op-ed the move to appoint Whitaker is unconstitutional…without the consent of Congress… Sessions recusal had infuriated Trump, who has repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia and called the probe a "witch hunt".

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