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Former acting AG Matthew Whitaker has left Justice Dept., reports say

By
Nicholas Sakelaris
Former acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker testifies before a House judiciary committee hearing on oversight of the Justice Department on February 8. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Former acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker testifies before a House judiciary committee hearing on oversight of the Justice Department on February 8. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 4 (UPI) -- Former acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has left his position at the Justice Department, a department spokesperson told various news outlets Monday.

Whitaker, whose time in the top post was replaced by William Barr, left the department over the weekend, Bloomberg reported. NBC News and The Hill also reported his departure.

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Whitaker took over as attorney general in November after Jeff Sessions resigned under pressure from President Donald Trump. He was acting attorney general until last month, when Barr was confirmed and sworn in. Afterward, Whitaker worked as the senior counselor in the associate general's office. He'd previously worked as Sessions' chief-of-staff.

Last month, Whitaker told congressional lawmakers he hadn't interfered with the Justice Department's Russia investigation. He chose not to recuse himself from the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation despite being critical of the probe in the past.

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"We have followed the special counsel's regulations to a T," Barr said at the Feb. 8 testimony.

Democrats widely criticized Whitaker's responses, as he often dodged questions, refused to give direct answers or repeated the question. Even though he left the Justice Department, Whitaker will be compelled to return to Congress to clarify his earlier testimony.

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Judiciary committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. said last month that the United States needs a steady hand at the department.

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"Mr. Whitaker has done a good job as interim attorney general but we're looking for a new person to bring stability, improve morale and be a steady hand -- mature leadership -- at a time when our country is very much divided," Graham said.

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