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Matt Whitaker has left the Justice Department

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Matt Whitaker. Official U.S. Department of Justice photo.

Matt Whitaker, the University of Iowa graduate who served as acting attorney general of the United States for the Trump administration, quietly exited the Justice Department on Saturday, Del Quentin Wilber of the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday. NBC News has confirmed Wilber’s report.

The Justice Department hasn’t issued any statements on Whitaker’s departure.

Whitaker was appointed acting attorney general by President Trump in November 2018, after Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He served in an acting capacity until William Barr was sworn in as attorney general on Feb. 14. Whitaker was then appointed to the position of senior counselor in the Office of the Associate Attorney General. It’s unclear what Whitaker did in that position. The Justice Department hasn’t had an associate attorney general since Rachel Brand abruptly quit in February 2018.

“Brand grew frustrated by vacancies at the department and feared she would be asked to oversee the Russia investigation,” NBC News reported at the time.

Whitaker’s departure came four days after it was announced that he would be testifying before the House Judiciary Committee again. The closed door hearing is intended to address problems from his Feb. 8 public testimony before the committee.

“Members on both sides of the aisle found many of your answers to be unsatisfactory, incomplete, or contradicted by other evidence,” Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, wrote in a letter to Whitaker.

Nadler explained that the committee had found potential witnesses that would contradict Whitaker’s statements made under oath about his contacts with President Trump regarding the indictment of Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York.

The date for Whitaker’s appearance before the committee has not yet been set.


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