Pelosi calls on acting AG to recuse himself from Russia probe

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi, Mnuchin reach 'near-final agreement' on budget, debt ceiling Wendy Davis launches bid for Congress in Texas Steyer calls on Pelosi to cancel 'six-week vacation' for Congress MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday called for acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from "any involvement" in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThis week: Mueller dominates chaotic week on Capitol Hill Top Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction MORE's Russia probe, which Whitaker has previously criticized.

"It is impossible to read Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions’ firing as anything other than another blatant attempt by [President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' MORE] to undermine & end Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation," Pelosi wrote in a tweet.

The appointment of Whitaker and the ouster of Sessions has elicited concerns among Democrats that Trump is taking steps to limit or shut down Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and any possible coordination with his team.

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Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump says he will meet with Schumer 'ASAP' after border visit Dem senator describes 'overcrowded quarters,' 'harsh odor' at border facilities Top Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday also called for Whitaker to recuse himself from involvement in Mueller's probe.

The Department of Justice, however, confirmed Wednesday that Whitaker will take over for Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinKey numbers to know for Mueller's testimony 10 questions for Robert Mueller What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much MORE in overseeing the investigation. Whitaker was named acting attorney general on Wednesday when Trump fired Sessions, who had recused himself from the Russia investigation over his role in the Trump campaign.

Whitaker has previously criticized the idea of Mueller's investigation and has suggested that funding for it should be slashed.

In an op-ed for The Hill published last year before Mueller was appointed, Whitaker wrote that calls for an independent counsel to investigate Russian interference "ring hollow."

"Serious, bipartisan congressional investigations into the Russian allegations have been under way for weeks and they have made progress," he wrote. "Hollow calls for independent prosecutors are just craven attempts to score cheap political points and serve the public in no measurable way."

And, in a CNN op-ed also from last year, he said that Mueller was close to crossing a "red line" by investigating Trump's finances. He suggested that Rosenstein "should order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation."

Whitaker also raised the possibility that a replacement for Sessions could reduce Mueller's funding to the point that the investigation came to "almost a halt."

“I could see a scenario where Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage House gears up for Mueller testimony Trump's no racist — he's an equal opportunity offender MORE is replaced with  a recess appointment and that attorney general doesn’t fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt," he said on CNN.