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Ex-acting AG Matthew Whitaker leaves Justice Department

March 4, 2019
FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2019 file photo , then Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Whitaker has left the Justice Department. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec says Whitaker’s last day was Saturday. His future plans were not immediately clear. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has left the Justice Department.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec says Whitaker’s last day was Saturday.

Whitaker was replaced last month when William Barr was confirmed as attorney general. He became a counselor in the associate attorney general’s office.

Whitaker was elevated to acting attorney general in November after President Donald Trump ousted then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Whitaker was chief of staff to Sessions, who angered the Republican president by recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

Democrats criticized Whitaker for past negative comments about the special counsel’s Russia probe.

The House Judiciary Committee’s chairman said Whitaker didn’t offer clear responses about his communications with the White House when he testified last month. Whitaker agreed to return to clarify his testimony.

The Los Angeles Times first reported Whitaker’s departure.

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