Trump's acting AG doesn't plan to recuse himself from Russia probe: report

Trump's acting AG doesn't plan to recuse himself from Russia probe: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBroward County official Brenda Snipes submits resignation after criticism Retired lieutenant general tears into Trump over attacks against Navy SEAL: 'Disgusting' Senate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks MORE's new acting attorney general reportedly has no plans to recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel's investigation into Russian election interference, despite lawmaker calls for him to do so.


The Washington Post, citing multiple people familiar with the matter, reported on Thursday that Matthew Whitaker does not intend to recuse himself from overseeing Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's probe. 

The sources also said they do not believe Whitaker would approve a subpoena of President Trump as part of the probe, the Post reported. 

Trump announced on Wednesday that Whitaker would serve as acting attorney general after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump labels Schiff ‘little Adam Schitt’ Top House Oversight Dem says he will do ‘anything and everything’ to make Mueller’s findings public Watchdog group demands release of Whitaker's financial disclosures MORE resigned at the president's request. Whitaker comes into the role after serving as Sessions's chief of staff. 

Whitaker in the past has made public comments critical of Mueller's investigation, including in an op-ed in The Hill, causing Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFacebook reeling after damning NYT report Schumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations Schumer predicts Nelson will 'continue being senator' if 'every vote counted' MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiJohn Lewis joins Ocasio-Cortez on climate change push Dem House newcomers split on supporting Pelosi for Speaker Reelection campaign starts now, like it or not MORE (D-Calif.) to call for him to recuse himself from overseeing the probe.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSotomayor: Kavanaugh now part of the Supreme Court ‘family’ Trump to nominate former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as next EPA administrator Schumer reelected as Senate Democratic Leader MORE (D-W.Va.) said Thursday that it concerns him a figure who has “been so vocal against the investigation” is now overseeing it. 

"Looking like it's been tilted one way or the other is wrong,” he said.

The Post notes that ethics officials in the DOJ will likely review Whitaker’s past work to evaluate if he has any conflicts of interest related to the investigation.

In most cases, the ethics office will suggest a course of action for an official take. However, they are rarely required to follow its advice, according to The Post.

The Department of Justice declined to comment to The Hill.

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinMueller could turn easy Trump answers into difficult situation Attorneys want Supreme Court to determine legality of Whitaker as acting AG Top Dems: DOJ position on Whitaker appointment 'fatally flawed' MORE had been overseeing Mueller’s investigation since early 2017 after Sessions officially recused himself.

Trump, who has repeatedly called Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt,” had consistently criticized Sessions for that decision.

Before joining Sessions’ staff in 2017, Whitaker was outspoken in his criticism of the Russia investigation.

“Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russia 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing," Whitaker wrote in an op-ed for CNN in August 2017.

It is unclear if Rosenstein will step aside from his role in helping oversee the investigation, The Post noted. A Justice Department spokeswoman previously told The Hill that the acting attorney general is "in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice."

-Updated 12:45 p.m.