President Trump on Sunday said he is giving acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker free rein over special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, including limiting or shutting down the investigation.
“It’s going to be up to him,” Mr. Trump said in an interview aired on Fox News Sunday.” “I wouldn’t get involved.”
Mr. Trump’s pick of Mr. Whitaker, the former chief of staff to ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and outspoken critic of the Mueller probe, ignited renewed accusations that the president was trying to squelch the investigation.
Democrats and some Republicans have called on Mr. Trump to find another attorney general. And Senate Democrats, with support from Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, are pushing legislation to protect the Mueller probe.
Mr. Trump said he was unaware of Mr. Whitaker’s previous public remarks criticizing the probe and saying there was no Trump campaign collusion with Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race.
But the president commended Mr. Whitaker for taking that view.
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“He’s right. What do you do when a person is right. There is no collusion,” Mr. Trump said.
The president wondered aloud whether he was supposed to pick an attorney general who believed there was collusion.