Ethics officials tell Whitaker he doesn’t need to recuse himself from Russia probe, source says

Acting Atty. Gen. Matthew Whitaker takes the stage as he is introduced at the Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018.
(Orlin Wagner / Associated Press)

Acting Atty. Gen. Matthew Whitaker has been advised by Justice Department ethics officials that he does not need to recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel’s Russia probe.

That’s according to a person familiar with the matter and not authorized to discuss it publicly who spoke to the Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity.

Members of Congress have raised concerns about Whitaker’s past criticism of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. The probe is looking at Russian interference in the 2016 election and ties to President Trump’s campaign.


The investigation had been overseen by Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein until Trump ousted Jeff Sessions as attorney general last month and appointed Whitaker.

Trump’s appointment of acting attorney general may be unconstitutional, legal experts say »

Senate Democratic leader Charles E. Schumer of New York and other Democrats have called for Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation.