Trump lashed out at hand-picked Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker after his name was connected to crimes former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to
- Trump reportedly lashed out at Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker
- He was reportedly furious after his name was connected to crimes Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to
- Whitaker was hand-picked for the job in November following the resignation of Jeff Sessions
- A senior official said Thursday Whitaker chose not to recuse himself from the Russia investigation
- This comes despite a top Justice Department ethics official advice for her him to step aside out of an ‘abundance of caution’
- Whitaker’s past criticism of the Russia investigation has raised questions about whether he can oversee it fairly
President Trump reportedly lashed out at Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker after his name was mentioned by federal prosecutors in court for crimes Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to.
CNN reported Friday that Trump first berated Whitaker, who was hand-picked for the job in November following the resignation of Jeff Sessions, after former Cohen pleaded guilty for lying to Congress about work he did on his real estate deal in Russia.
Trump reportedly lashed out once again after the Justice Department announced the president directed illegal payments to buy the silence of two women – whose claims of extramarital affairs threatened his presidential campaign – the first time prosecutors have connected Trump to a federal crime.
In a court filing, prosecutors said Cohen arranged the secret payments at the height of the 2016 campaign ‘in coordination with and at the direction of’ Trump.
Cohen previously said Trump was involved in the hush-money scheme, but court documents filed ahead of Cohen’s sentencing made clear prosecutors believe Cohen’s claim.
President Trump (pictured Friday in Washington, DC) reportedly lashed out at Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker (pictured in November in Ohio) after his name was mentioned by federal prosecutors in court for crimes Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to
He was sentenced earlier this month to three years in prison for crimes that included arranging the payment of hush money to conceal his boss’ alleged sexual affairs, telling a judge that he agreed time and again to cover up Trump’s ‘dirty deeds’ out of ‘blind loyalty.’
While on the topic of Whitaker, Mueller biographer Garrett Graff told CNN: ‘It seems very clear that the only reason that Matt Whitaker was ever appointed to this role was specifically to oversee the Mueller investigation.’
A senior official said Thursday Whitaker chose not to recuse himself from the Russia investigation even though a top Justice Department ethics official advised him to step aside out of an ‘abundance of caution.’
Whitaker’s past criticism of the Russia investigation has raised questions about whether he can oversee it fairly.
Whitaker was hand-picked for acting attorney in November following the resignation of Jeff Sessions
The ethics official said this week that a recusal was ‘a close call,’ but suggested that Whitaker remove himself, even though he was not required to do so.
Whitaker decided not to take the advice.
The details of Whitaker’s decision to maintain oversight of the Russia investigation were provided by a Justice Department official who briefed reporters on condition that he not be identified.
The details show that although Whitaker was not required to step aside, the issue had raised questions about the appearance of a possible conflict of interest.
Members of Congress have expressed concerns about Whitaker’s past criticism of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen leaves federal Court after his sentencing hearing at United States Federal Court in New York, United States on December 12, 2018
The probe is looking at Russian interference in the 2016 election and ties to Trump’s campaign.
Whitaker was preceded in November by Sessions, who recused himself from the Russia investigation just days into his job as attorney general.
He said it was because of his work as a campaign surrogate for Trump, but the announcement followed revelations that he had had multiple encounters with the Russian ambassador over the last year.
Trump never forgave him and ultimately forced him from the job a year and a half later.
Former attorney general Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, and endured the wrath of President Trump