WHAT THE AG SHAKEUP MEANS

Belleville News-Democrat - - Front Page - BY DEVLIN BAR­RETT, MATT ZAPOTOSKY AND JOSH DAWSEY

Act­ing At­tor­ney Gen­eral Matt Whi­taker has no in­ten­tion of re­cus­ing him­self from over­see­ing the spe­cial coun­sel probe.

Act­ing At­tor­ney Gen­eral Matt Whi­taker has no in­ten­tion of re­cus­ing him­self from over­see­ing the spe­cial coun­sel probe of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple close to him who added they do not be­lieve he would ap­prove any sub­poena of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as part of that in- ves­ti­ga­tion.

Since step­ping into his new role on Wed­nes­day, Whi­taker has faced ques­tions – prin­ci­pally from Democrats – about whether he should re­cuse from the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion, given that he has writ­ten opin­ion pieces in the past about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and is a friend and po­lit­i­cal ally of a wit­ness.

On Thurs­day, two peo­ple close to Whi­taker said he has no in­ten­tion of tak­ing him­self off the Rus­sia case.

Ethics of­fi­cials at the Jus­tice Depart­ment are likely to re­view his past work to see if he has any fi­nan­cial or per­sonal con­flicts. In many in­stances, that of­fice does not re­quire a Jus­tice Depart­ment of­fi­cial to re­cuse, but sug­gests a course of ac­tion. In the past, se­nior Jus­tice Depart­ment of­fi­cials tend to fol­low such ad­vice, but they are rarely re­quired to do so, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with the process.

A Jus­tice Depart­ment spokes­woman de­clined to com­ment. Of­fi­cials there have said Whi­taker will fol­low the reg­u­lar pro­ce­dure in han­dling any ethics is­sues that arise.

In 2014, Whi­taker chaired the cam­paign of Sam Clo­vis, a Repub­li­can can­di­date for Iowa state trea­surer. Clo­vis went on to work as a Trump cam­paign ad­viser and has be­come a wit­ness in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

CHAR­LIE NEIBERGALL AP

Matt Whi­taker, the new act­ing US at­tor­ney gen­eral re­plac­ing Jeff Ses­sions, has writ­ten opin­ion pieces about the spe­cial coun­sel’s Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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