- The Washington Times
Monday, March 4, 2019

Former acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker left the Department of Justice Saturday, a Justice Department official confirmed to The Washington Times.

Mr. Whitaker finished his last day Saturday, and it is not clear what his next job will be.

The Justice Department official told the Times that Mr. Whitaker had no plans to stay long term after new Attorney General William P. Barr was confirmed. The official was unaware of Mr. Whitaker’s future plans or if he intended to seek another job in the Trump administration.

Mr. Whitaker served as chief of staff for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions until he was elevated to acting attorney general after his boss’s resignation in November. His tenure leading the department was expected to last only while President Trump searched for a new attorney general.

Last month, several news outlets reported that Mr. Whitaker would remain at the Justice Department as a senior counselor in the associate attorney general’s office. It is not clear why he left the department or how long he served in that position.

Mr. Barr was confirmed three weeks ago.

Mr. Whitaker did not return phone calls seeking comment.

A former U.S. attorney in Iowa, Mr. Whitaker spent a rocky time at the top of the Justice Department. Almost immediately after taking over, Trump critics raised questions about his appointment, business dealings and conversations with the president. Some accused him of being promoted so he could scuttle special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

During a particularly fiery appearance before the House Judiciary Committee last month, Mr. Whitaker was pressed by Democrats about his communications with Mr. Trump and if he impeded the Mueller investigation.

Mr. Whitaker insisted that he did not interfere with the investigation and the president did not require him to make promises about how he would manage the special counsel. But he also refused to directly answer questions, prompting committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, New York Democrat, to pledge to force Mr. Whitaker to return and clarify his comments.

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.