Whitaker’s Friendship With Trump Aide Reignites Recusal Debate
President Donald Trump's pick for acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, is a close friend of Trump's 2016 election campaign co-chair, and a former government ethics chief said the friendship makes Whitaker unable to oversee impartially a politically charged investigation into the campaign.
Matthew Whitaker, named on Wednesday to replace Jeff Sessions, will directly oversee Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation into possible links between Trump's campaign team and Russian officials. Whitaker publicly criticized Mueller’s investigation before he was hired as Sessions’ chief of staff last year.
Trevor Potter, a former Republican commissioner on the Federal Election Commission who now leads the Campaign Legal Center, which advocates for more transparency in elections, said the question of whether Whitaker should recuse himself depends on Clovis’ status in the Mueller investigation. “If he has a close personal friendship with someone who is involved in the investigation because of his role in the Trump campaign, then that would present a recusal issue,” Potter said.
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