President Trump is now claiming he doesn't know his new acting attorney general despite the fact that they have met several times.
Trump on Friday spoke to reporters about his temporary replacement for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "I don’t know Matt Whitaker," he said. Whitaker, who took over as acting attorney general on Wednesday, worked for Sessions, said Trump, but he claimed he doesn't know him other than hearing of his "excellent" reputation. This is despite the fact that Whitaker has reportedly visited Trump in the Oval Office more than a dozen times, to the point that The New York Times reports he and the president have an "easy chemistry."
Still, Trump made this claim repeatedly Friday and continued to insist that he only knows about Whitaker through second-hand information, saying that he is a "very strong person, from what I hear." He also suggested that he only picked Whitaker because he has a "great reputation, and that’s what I wanted." But The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey reports that after "many" Oval Office" meetings, "one reason [Trump] picked [Whitaker] was because he liked him so much."
Trump also said Friday that he and Whitaker have not spoken about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference. Whitaker has been publicly critical of the probe, writing in a 2017 op-ed that it has gone too far, and The Washington Post reports that Whitaker's skepticism of the investigation is another reason Trump selected him. Watch Trump's comments below. Brendan Morrow
President Trump says he does not know acting AG Whitaker, and Whitaker is “always extremely highly thought of” and “still is highly thought of.” pic.twitter.com/ymrMMUIQuh
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 9, 2018