heavy.com – Matthew Whitaker is an aide who has been selected to replace Attorney General Jeff Session as the interim Attorney General until Trump nominates a permanent replacement, according to a tweet by Trump on Wednesday.
Whitaker was the Chief of Staff to Sessions prior to Sessions’ departure. He is a conservative who has written op-eds in the past suggesting that the Mueller Investigation of Trump and the 2016 election has gone “too far,” and has also run for elected office three times in the past, all times as a Republican.
Whitaker will now be in control of the Mueller investigation.
Whitaker has run twice for elected state office in the past, once unsuccessfully as State Treasurer for Iowa in 2002 and once successfully as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, from 2004 to 2009. In 2013, when he claimed to be taking steps to run for U.S. Senate, Whitaker said to WHO Radio that he wanted to emulate Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, and to focus on holding government accountable.
Whitaker was defeated in the Republican primary in the Iowa Senate race in 2014, taking fourth place in the primary and receiving just under eight percent of the votes.
In 2017, Matthew “Matt” Whitaker wrote a scathing op-ed about the Mueller probe for CNN, arguing that it had gone too far.
Whitaker wrote, “Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russia 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing…It does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump’s finances or his family’s finances falls completely outside of the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else. That goes beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel.”
Whitaker further argued that the Trump Organization’s financial dealings were “plainly not within the scope” of the investigation, and that any continued investigation of POTUS’ financial dealings would merit speculation of the probe being a “witch hunt.”
In a September, 2018 profile of Whitaker in The New York Times, Whitaker was described as a “Trump loyalist” that is known by some White House source to be Trump’s “eyes and ears” in the Attorney General’s office.
He is reported to have frequented the Oval Office in the last few years and have an “easy chemistry” with Trump, serving as a “balm” in the tenuous relationship between Trump and Sessions that has finally come to a close.
Whitaker has been suggested to be a possible successor to another Trump official in the last few months: Donald McGahn, the White House counsel.
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