Trump Claims He Didn’t Know Matthew Whitaker’s Views on the Russia Probe

November 18, 2018, 5:04 PM UTC

President Trump sat down with Chris Matthews for an interview on Fox News Sunday, during which the president claimed he didn’t know about acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s past statements regarding the Russia probe, which he posted about on Twitter.

Last year, Whitaker said in an interview with the Wilkow Majority show that “there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign.” He added, “There was interference by the Russians into the election, but that was not collusion with the campaign. That’s where the left seems to be combining those two issues.”

In the Fox News Sunday interview that aired Sunday morning, Trump said he did not know about Whitaker’s criticisms of the Russia investigation before appointing him. But when he was asked about when he found out about Whitaker’s views on the matter, Trump said, “I don’t think it had any effect” regarding his decision to appoint him.

“I did not know he took views on Mueller’s investigation as such,” Trump told Matthews. He later added, “What do you do when a person’s right?”

Whitaker’s appointment was challenged in the Supreme Court on Friday. Supreme Court litigator Thomas Goldstein argued that Whitaker should not take over for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and is asking the court to determine who should take Sessions’ place instead. Goldstein called on the Supreme Court to appoint Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.