President Donald Trump defended his choice to make Jeff Sessions’ former chief of staff Matt Whitaker acting attorney general in an interview taped Friday, saying Whitaker’s open opposition to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe didn’t impact his choice.
“I did not know he took views on the Mueller investigation as such,” Trump claimed of Whitaker. (The New York Times, citing unnamed people close to the President, reported on Nov. 7 that “Mr. Whitaker first came to the attention of Mr. Trump because he liked watching Mr. Whitaker express skepticism about aspects of Mr. Mueller’s investigation on television.”)
“And when you found that out?” Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace asked.
“I don’t think it had any effect,” Trump said.
“He says there’s no collusion,” Wallace responded. “He says you can starve the investigation [of funds].”
“He’s right,” Trump responded. “What do you do when a person’s right? There is no collusion.”
Trump said separately, pressed by Wallace, that he would not “get involved” if Whitaker attempted to limit or curtail Mueller’s probe.
Asked whether he’d be willing to be interviewed by Mueller’s team — as he’s said in the past — Trump said: “We’ve wasted enough time on this witch hunt and the answer is probably, we’re finished.”
WOW — Trump absurdly claims he wasn’t aware Whitaker is outspoken critic of the Muller probe before he appointed him acting AG.
“I did know that. I did not know he took views on Mueller…I don’t think it had any effect…there is no collusion.” pic.twitter.com/yCpPEycaiw
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 18, 2018
This post has been updated.