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The Latest: Senate leader: Trump likely to nominate new AG

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker (all times local):

1 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he expects President Donald Trump to nominate a new attorney general "pretty quickly" after Trump fired Jeff Sessions earlier this week.

Speaking in Kentucky on Friday, McConnell said he expects acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker to be "a very interim" attorney general.

Democrats have criticized Whitaker for comments he has made in the past that were critical of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and have called for legislation to protect Mueller. McConnell said that's not needed because the probe will be allowed to finish.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday sent a letter to Trump questioning the legality of Whitaker's appointment, since he was not confirmed by the Senate.

___

10:45 a.m.

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.

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