Former Acting Attorney General Whitaker Leaves Justice Department

March 5, 2019 Updated: March 5, 2019

Former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker left the Department of Justice, a department spokeswoman confirmed on March. 4.

Whitaker’s last day at the department was March 2 and it is unclear where he is moving on to, the spokeswoman said.

Whitaker’s brief tenure as the nation’s top attorney ended after William Barr was sworn in as attorney general in mid-February. Upon Barr’s confirmation, Whitaker became a senior counselor to the associate attorney general.

President Donald Trump elevated Whitaker to the top position at the Justice Department after accepting the resignation of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in November 2018. Upon assuming the interim position, Whitaker took over the reins of the special counsel investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Shortly before his tenure as acting attorney general ended, Whitaker testified before the House Judiciary Committee, indicating that special counsel Robert Mueller would soon conclude his investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He also told lawmakers that he has not talked to Trump about Mueller’s probe.

Trump denies all allegation of collusion. Mueller has not charged anyone of colluding with Russia.

Whitaker first joined the Justice Department as former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s chief of staff in the autumn of 2017.

The Justice Department defended several lawsuits claiming that Whitaker’s appointment violated the Constitution and federal statutes. None of the plaintiffs prevailed, and the issue has since been mooted with Barr’s Senate confirmation.

Whitaker’s name is listed among the 81 people and entities who received document requests from Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee. The Democrats are looking for evidence whether Trump obstructed justice and abused power. Trump called the probe a “political hoax.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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