President Donald Trump took a number of questions outside the White House Friday before departing for a three-day trip to Paris.
Multiple questions were framed around the fate of the Russia probe after Jeff Sessions was fired this week. Trump gave a full-throated defense of his acting AG Matt Whitaker, calling him “a highly respected man” and noting there is “no rush” to confirm another AG.
When asked about Whitaker not having been Senate-confirmed, Trump shot back that neither was Mueller. “Matt Whitaker has not gone through a Senate process,” a reporter said.
“Neither has Mueller,” Trump said.
“You talk about the Senate process,” the president continued, “Mueller is doing a report. He hasn’t gone through the Senate process. You’re saying Whitaker hasn’t, but Whitaker has.”
Trump noted Whitaker substantial legal resume serving in government positions in the state of Iowa. “He was approved by everybody,” Trump said, “because to be U.S. Attorney, that’s top of the line.”
Trump then said:
A big complaint people have, Mueller was not Senate confirmed. So he’s doing a report. He wasn’t Senate confirmed. Whitaker was Senate-confirmed and he doesn’t need this but he was Senate confirmed at the highest level when he was the U.S. Attorney from Iowa. But Mueller was not Senate confirmed. Why didn’t they get him Senate confirmed? He should have been Senate confirmed.
Trump concluded that Mueller was not Senate confirmed due to “conflicts.” RELATED: ‘Trump Says Video Of Acosta Sarah Sanders Shared Was Not ‘Doctored’
“No, but because of all the conflicts, they didn’t want to bring him before the Senate. He’s very conflicted,” Trump continued, “Don’t tell me about Whitaker because Mueller was not Senate confirmed. And Whitaker was.”