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 TrumpPentagon update to missile defense doctrine will explore space-base technologies, lasers to counter threats Giuliani: 'I never said there was no collusion' between the Trump campaign and Russia Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles 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 SessionsBudowsky: Senate must protect Mueller from Barr, President Trump Feinstein grappling with vote on AG nominee Barr Central American women fleeing domestic violence deserve refugee status 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 SchumerCardi B expresses solidarity with federal workers not getting paid Government shutdown impasse is a leveraging crisis Overnight Health Care: Dem chair meets Trump health chief on drug prices | Trump officials sued over new Kentucky Medicaid work rules | Democrats vow to lift ban on federal funds for abortions MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiOvernight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal Centrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter On The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions MORE (D-Calif.) to call for him to recuse himself from overseeing the probe.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinCentrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter Bipartisan group of senators will urge Trump to reopen government for 3 weeks Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight 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 RosensteinLive coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing The Hill's Morning Report — No new negotiations as shutdown hits 25 days Democrat previews Mueller questions for Trump’s AG nominee 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.