President Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general, William Barr, told US lawmakers in written comments released on Monday he would not taken any steps to improperly fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and said Trump has never discussed the substance of Mueller's Russian Federation investigation with him. Whitaker says he hopes to receive Mueller's report as soon as possible.
Whitaker, who served as then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Chief of Staff and, as was widely reported, was President Trump's "mole" in the DOJ, also said he has "been fully briefed" on the investigation.
Without elaborating, Whitaker said: "I am comfortable that the decisions that were made (in the Mueller report) are going to be reviewed, you know, through the various means that we have". The charges have laid out intense interest by Trump's associates in benefiting from Russian efforts to sway the election in his favor, but have not accused the president or any of his aides of participating in the scheme.
While the White House likely celebrated news that Mueller's probe is wrapping up, Democrats were already mashing the panic button, concerned that Whitaker was unduly influencing Mueller's timeline, and that the parade of Mueller indictments may be coming to an end without a high-profile White House or Trump team arrest. The acting attorney general was asked about that skepticism on Monday and said he wouldn't talk about Mueller's work now but said his earlier comments were "made as a private citizen".
"We prefer that as much of the report as possible is public", Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told Fox News.
"This bipartisan legislation ensures that Congress and the American people have oversight of and insight into activities and findings of special counsel investigations under any administration", Grassley said.
"I would not countenance changing the existing regulations for the goal of removing Special Counsel Mueller without good cause", Barr wrote to the senators.
Whitaker later joined the Justice Department as chief of staff to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom President Trump forced out soon after Election Day a year ago.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller arrives at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee June 13, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.