Trump Defends Whitaker, Still Claims He Previously ‘Did Not Know’ Acting AG

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, on October 22, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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November 10, 2018 11:57 a.m.

President Donald Trump on Friday night defended his new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker as a “highly respected U.S. Attorney” while still insisting that he “did not know” Whitaker.

Soon after Whitaker was announced as former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ temporary replacement, he came under scrutiny for his criticism against Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Then reports came out detailing his involvement with a scam company that was shut down by the Federal Trade Commission and is now under FBI investigation, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Whitaker also may have violated the terms of his right-wing group’s tax exemption status when he repeatedly criticized Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Trump told reporters on Friday morning, “I don’t know Matthew Whitaker,” directly contradicting himself after he told Fox and Friends last month, “I mean, I know Matt Whitaker.”

Now the President seems to be hedging between the two claims by stating he “did not know” Whitaker “except primarily as he traveled with A.G. Sessions” when he served as Sessions’ chief of staff.

“No social contact,” Trump insisted about the man he previously described as a “great guy.”

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