U.S. President Donald Trump has denied discussing the ongoing Russia investigation with Matthew Whitaker before appointing him as acting attorney general this week.
Speaking to reporters at the White House on November 9, Trump also said he had not ruled out sitting down for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.
Whitaker has made public comments critical of Mueller's investigation, and critics have called on Whitaker to recuse himself from oversight of the inquiry.
Under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the investigation was overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Of the scrutiny Whitaker is facing, Trump said: "It's a shame that no matter who I put in, they go after."
He also called Whitaker "a very highly respected man."
Whitaker was Sessions' chief of staff before Trump made him Sessions' interim replacement.