Whitaker claims he did not discuss Russia probe with Trump Associates before joining department

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Friday said he never discussed Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation with President Donald Trump or his inner circle before he began working at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Asked if he has spoken with the president, any Trump associates or Trump‘s family members as a private citizen before joining the administration, Whitaker told the U.S. House Judiciary Committee: “No, I did not.” Whitaker served as a top aide to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions before Trump fired Sessions in November and tapped Whitaker to fill in temporarily.

(The story was corrected to say reference was to period before Whitaker joining department, not taking AG job)

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)