The man now in charge of the Justice Department previously argued that Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted in the investigation into her private email server she kept while secretary of state.
Before President Donald Trump tapped him as acting attorney general on Wednesday, Matthew Whitaker had taken a strong stance against Clinton as the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT). Whitaker was named acting attorney general after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was fired Wednesday
Hillary Clinton email scandal
Law and legal system
Political Figures - US
He argued at the time that "there was a strong case" to bring against Clinton in the FBI's investigation.
On the day in 2016 that then-FBI Director James Comey said he wouldn't recommend criminal charges against Clinton over her use of a private email server, Whitaker penned an op-ed in USA Today arguing that Clinton should be prosecuted.
"Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case," Comey said at a news conference in July 2016.
"I disagree," Whitaker wrote hours after. "I believe myself to have been a reasonable prosecutor, and when the facts and evidence show a criminal violation has been committed, the individuals involved should not dictate whether the case is prosecuted."
Whitaker said that Clinton could have been charged with gathering, transmitting or losing defense information.
Nearly a year later, and after losing the election, Clinton claimed she would've won if it had not been, in part, for Comey's letter notifying Congress of the bureau's reopening of the Clinton email probe.
Whitaker, in a statement then as FACT's executive director, rebuked the Democratic' nominee's remarks.
"The most disturbing aspect of Hillary Clinton's continued blame game is that she still doesn't think there was anything wrong with recklessly handling highly sensitive and classified information," Whitaker wrote, adding, "the fact that she is now asking (the American people) to forget her egregious actions is downright shameful."
"As a former U.S. Attorney, I believed there was a strong case to bring against her and she should be extremely grateful that has not happened," said Whitaker, who served as US Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa from 2004 to 2009.
Whitaker will fill the role of attorney general until a permanent replacement is nominated, Trump said Wednesday. After their relationship had soured, Trump had criticized Sessions for taking a "weak position" on the Clintons.