"So I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced with a recess appointment and that attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigation grinds to nearly a halt", Whitaker said during an interview with CNN in July 2017.
That drew criticism from Democrats in Congress because Whitaker, who would now take over responsibility for overseeing Mueller and his investigation, has been critical of the Mueller probe, saying it should be scaled back.
But it's not typical for chiefs of staff to replace the head of an agency when that head resigns, as former CIA staffer and NBC contributor Ned Price pointed out.
However, the ACLU had a few other choice departing words for the now former Attorney General. "That's why Cabinet Secretaries have Deputies".
Trump told associates that he felt that Whitaker would be "loyal" and would not have recused himself from the Russian Federation probe as Sessions had done, according to two Republicans close to the White House not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.
That's because Sessions had recused himself, calling it inappropriate that he lead an inquiry into Trump's 2016 presidential campaign of which he was a part.
"He's political to his core", a friend said of Whitaker.
He also ran for Iowa Senate unsuccessfully. Mueller's team also has been pressing for an interview with Trump.
The Mueller investigation has so far produced 32 criminal charges and four guilty pleas from Trump associates.
"Based on my experience with Matt", said John Richter, a former U.S. Attorney in Oklahoma and high-ranking Bush administration Justice Department official, "I think he will act consistently with the best traditions of the department and call things as he sees them".
A day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions' forced resignation, independent U.S. Sen.
"Donald Trump may think he has the power to hire and fire whomever he pleases, but he can not take such action if it is determined that it is for the purposes of subverting the rule of law and obstructing justice", Nadler said in a statement.
"He worships him", a longtime friend said of Whitaker and Trump.
He found satisfaction in being able to reverse Obama-era policies that conservatives say flouted the will of Congress, encouraging prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges they could and promoting more aggressive enforcement of federal marijuana law. Chuck Schumer, said he should recuse himself because of his comments on the probe. Rep.
Sessions endured most of the name-calling in silence, though he did issue two public statements defending the department, including one in which he said he would serve "with integrity and honor" for as long as he was in the job.
"Americans must have answers immediately as to the reasoning behind" Trump's move to remove Sessions, he said.
Now Whitaker is in charge of the Justice Department and Rosenstein reports to him, putting Whitaker in a position to constrain the special counsel if he wishes or if he's directed to do so by the president.
His agenda unsettled liberals who said that Sessions' focus on tough prosecutions marked a return to failed drug war tactics that unduly hurt minorities and the poor, and that his rollbacks of protections for gay and transgender people amount to discrimination.
A permanent replacement for Sessions must be confirmed by the Senate, which Trump's Republicans will continue to control as a result of Tuesday's midterm elections.