Profile: Matt Whitaker

• New acting attorney general Matt Whitaker is a longtime critic of the Mueller investigation and is a former Republican candidate. United States President Donald Trump announced that the 49-year-old Iowan would serve as Jeff Sessions’s temporary replacement after Trump pushed Sessions out as attorney general.

• Whitaker currently serves as Sessions’s chief-of-staff. Before joining the Department of Justice in September 2017, he was a lawyer in private practice in his hometown of Des Moines and led a Washington DC-based conservative group, The Foundation for Accountability & Civic Trust (Fact), that was particularly focused on scrutinising Hillary Clinton. In that role, he said that he suggested that Clinton should be prosecuted.

• Whitaker also wrote an op-ed for CNN in August, 2017, where he urged the department to limit the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He wrote that without strict boundaries, the probe could resemble “a mere witch hunt” and transform into “a political fishing expedition”.

• A longtime Republican stalwart in Iowa, Whitaker served as US attorney in the Hawkeye State under former president George W. Bush, a position to which the Senate confirmed him in 2004. He has also mounted two unsuccessful bids for statewide office.

• In 2002, he was the Republican party’s nominee for state treasurer and in 2014, he finished fourth in a Republican primary for US Senate, where he lost to incumbent Joni Ernst.

• Whitaker is a Des Moines native who played football at the University of Iowa, where he earned a law degree.

— Guardian News & Media Ltd


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