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Trump Denies Knowing New Attorney General He Met Over a Dozen Times

Earlier today, Trump stopped to chat with (and insult) a gathering of reporters on his way to an overseas trip in Paris, France. During the impromptu press conference he was asked about his new (and potentially unconstitutional) pick for Acting Attorney General, Matt Whitaker.

“Well, Matt Whitaker—I don’t know Matt Whitaker. Matt Whitaker worked for Jeff Sessions and he was always extremely highly thought and he still is, but I didn’t know Matt Whitaker. He worked for Attorney General Sessions, he was very, very highly thought of and still is very highly thought of,” Trump said. (And yes that’s a direct quote, he said the same thing twice.)

The only part of Trump’s double denial about Matt Whitaker that’s true appears to be the “he works for Jeff Sessions” part. Trump met with Matt Whitaker in the Oval Office several times, often with Attorney General Jeff Sessions present and is said to have an “easy chemistry” with him. There’s also audio of Trump saying he knows Matt Whitaker, so either he was lying then or he’s lying now (probably now).

Even Fox News called out Trump’s obvious lie. Why he’s claiming he doesn’t know his own pick to lead the Justice Department is anyone’s guess, but it might have something to do with the Special Counsel investigation Trump seems desperate to obstruct. When asked whether he wanted his partisan hatchet man to rein in Mueller’s probe, he told the (black female) reporter it was a “stupid question.”

Matt Whitaker doesn’t appear to be “highly thought of,” either. He was a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa during the last five years of the Bush Administration, a failed Senate candidate, and a right-wing talk radio host and television pundit. Trump reportedly likes him because he saw him on the teevee machine ranting about Robert Mueller and echoing the president’s own unfounded claims that this investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 election is a ‘witch hunt.’

But Whitaker’s shamelessness goes back even farther than his association with Trump. A few years ago the company Whitaker worked for, the sketchy World Patent Marketing, was slapped with a $26 million judgment for scamming potential inventors out of their money. The company pledged to help inventors secure patents for their ideas, but according to the suit “failed to fulfill almost every promise they make to consumers.”

(A Republican lying to consumers to enrich themselves? Now I’ve heard everything!)

Democratic lawmakers and Republicans, including Kellyanne Conway’s husband, have questioned the constitutionality of Whitaker taking over as Acting Attorney General because he hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate and Senate Democrats are mulling a lawsuit to block Whitaker’s appointment.

Who wouldn’t want a dedicated partisan grifter who used to steal WiFi from Taco John’s as the country’s top law enforcement official?

h/t: The Guardian