Trump on new acting AG: "I don't know Matt Whitaker"

Protesters gather in front of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, as part of a nationwide "Protect Mueller" campaign demanding that

Protesters gather in front of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, as part of a nationwide "Protect Mueller" campaign demanding that

Protesters march from Cal Anderson Park to the Federal Building downtown in Seattle, in support of special counsel Robert Mueller and against Presiden

Protesters march from Cal Anderson Park to the Federal Building downtown in Seattle, in support of special counsel Robert Mueller and against Presiden

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is moving to distance himself from Matthew Whitaker as he faces criticism over his choice for acting attorney general.

Trump told reporters Friday "I don't know Matt Whitaker" and said he didn't speak with Whitaker about special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Whitaker has made public comments critical of Mueller's investigation, and critics have called on Whitaker to recuse himself from oversight of the inquiry. Under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the investigation was overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Of the scrutiny Whitaker is facing, Trump said: "It's a shame that no matter who I put in they go after."

He also called Whitaker "a very highly respected man." Whitaker was Sessions' chief of staff before Trump made him Sessions' interim replacement.