Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinActing AG once said courts ‘are supposed to be the inferior branch’ Schiff: Dems interested in Sessions’s testimony about ouster in next Congress Flake to try to force vote on bill protecting Mueller MORE reportedly offered strong praise for the new interim head of the Justice Department on Friday, calling acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker a “superb” choice to take the reins from Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPelosi: Acting attorney general ‘should not be there’ Acting AG once said courts ‘are supposed to be the inferior branch’ Sessions considering run for old Alabama Senate seat: report MORE.
ABC News reports that Rosenstein commented on the transition at a swearing-in ceremony for U.S. Attorney Zach Terwilliger on Friday, calling Whitaker a “superb choice for attorney general” who “certainly understands the work, understands the priorities of the department.”
When asked about the future of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE‘s investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian election interference, Rosenstein reportedly declined to answer questions and walked away.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein just called Matt WhitakerMatthew G WhitakerThe Hill’s 12:30 Report — Presented by the Counter Extremism Project — Ginsburg hospitalized after fall | 12 people killed in SoCal mass shooting | What Sessions’s ouster means for Russia probe | Why Trump thinks he won the midterms Activists plan nationwide protests to protect Mueller probe Napolitano: Acting AG ‘does not qualify under the law’ to take job MORE “a superb choice for attorney general,” saying Whitaker “certainly understands the work, understands the priorities of the department.” Then I asked him if he’s worried at all about the Mueller probe. He walked off.
Whitaker assumed the position of acting attorney general upon Sessions’s ouster Wednesday from the Department of Justice (DOJ) a day after Democrats took control of the House in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Sessions, a frequent target of criticism and insults from President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama: ‘I’d never forgive’ Trump for ‘birther’ conspiracy Judge blocks Keystone XL pipeline Pelosi: Acting attorney general ‘should not be there’ MORE had been rumored to be planning an exit from DOJ for months, but the timing of Wednesday’s announcement caught many in Washington off-guard.
His replacement has come under scrutiny for his past comments about Mueller’s probe, as well as his stance on the judiciary and the Supreme Court.
Trump defended his selection earlier Friday while also claiming not to know Whitaker personally, despite having referred to him in the past as a “great guy.”
“I didn’t speak to Matt Whitaker about it. I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” Trump told reporters at the White House before heading to France.