Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker's resume is chock-full of legal and government work, but he has also made comments critical of the Russia investigation.
Whitaker was named to his temporary post Wednesday afternoon after President Donald Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign. The 49-year-old lawyer, who had been working as Sessions' chief of staff, will be his former boss' temporary successor until a permanent replacement is confirmed.
According to Whitaker's LinkedIn profile, he has worked as a lawyer since 1995, soon after he earned his law degree from the University of Iowa. From there, his career took him to several law firms before he served as a U.S. attorney from 2004-2009.
After several years of working in the private sector, Whitaker was a legal commentator for CNN for four months in 2017 before rejoining the DOJ as Sessions' chief of staff last October.
During an appearance on CNN in July 2017, Whitaker defended Donald Trump Jr. after news broke that he had met with a Russian in Trump Tower before the 2016 election after being told the person had damaging information about Hillary Clinton, Trump's opponent in the race.
The following month, Whitaker wrote an opinion piece for the network that said the special counsel investigation about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia was going too far under Robert Mueller.
"It is time for Rosenstein, who is the acting attorney general for the purposes of this investigation, to order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel," Whitaker wrote.
"If he doesn't, then Mueller's investigation will eventually start to look like a political fishing expedition. This would not only be out of character for a respected figure like Mueller, but also could be damaging to the president of the United States and his family — and by extension, to the country."
In theory, assuming the absence of ethical hurdles, Whitaker will now conduct oversight of the Russia investigation. The probe is currently being handled by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after Sessions recused himself in May 2017.
Attorney and law professor Alan Dershowitz, however, said during an appearance on Fox News that he doubts Whitaker would take on the burden of overseeing Mueller's work.
"He's not going to want to take over the investigation," Dershowitz said. "He will defer to Rod Rosenstein. But then when crucial decisions come up like whether or not the report is made public, he may want to weigh in and actually take responsibility for making that decision."