President Trump first noticed Matthew G. Whitaker on CNN in the summer of 2017 and liked what he saw — a partisan defender who insisted there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. So that July, the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, interviewed Mr. Whitaker about joining the president’s team as a legal attack dog against the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
At that point, the White House passed, leaving Mr. Whitaker, 49, to continue his media tour, writing on CNN’s website that Mr. Mueller’s investigation — which he had once called “crazy” — had gone too far.
Fifteen months later, the attack dog is in charge. With little ceremony on Wednesday, Mr. Trump ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and put Mr. Whitaker, Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff, in charge of the Justice Department — and Mr. Mueller’s Russia investigation.
People close to Mr. Trump believe that he sent Mr. Whitaker to the department in part to limit the fallout from the Mueller investigation, one presidential adviser said. [Continue reading…]