President Donald Trump said “it’s going to be up to him” when asked if he would accept any move by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to curtail special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
When Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked Trump in an interview that aired on “Fox News Sunday” if the President would accept Whitaker limiting the Mueller investigation, Trump replied that he was confident Whitaker would “do what’s right.”
“I think he’s astute politically. He’s a very smart person, a very respected person,” Trump said. “He’s going to do what’s right. I really believe he’s going to do what’s right.”
Pressed to elaborate, Trump said, “I would not get involved. And all these people that say I’m going to end the investigation, you know, they’ve been saying that now for — how long has this witch hunt gone on? It’s gone on for, what? … From the day I announced.”
Trump also said that he was not aware before appointing Whitaker that he had been critical of Mueller’s investigation.
“I did not know that. I did not know he took views on the Mueller investigation as such,” Trump said.
Before joining the Justice Department in 2017 as recently fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff, Whitaker said that “there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign.”
Whitaker “happened to be right,” Trump said.
“So if he said there is collusion, I’m supposed to be taking somebody that says there is?” the President added. “Because then I wouldn’t take him for two reasons, but the No. 1 reason is the fact that he would have been wrong.”
Asked what he thought when learned of Whitaker’s views on the Mueller probe, Trump said, “I don’t think it had any effect. If you look at those statements those statements that can — they really can be viewed either way, but I don’t think it will have any impact.”
By Caroline Kelly, CNN