Acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, chose not to recuse himself from the role, according to CNN Politics. Whitaker was advised by his own ethics board, staffed by allies, not to recuse himself, citing that there was no legal conflict that would require such an action.
However, ethics officials noted there could be an appearance of a conflict based on Whitaker's past public comments about the investigation, as the standard is whether a reasonable person would conclude that he couldn't be impartial. The ethics official tasked with dealing with the review described it as a "close call" whether Whitaker needed to step aside but believed, in his view, that Whitaker should recuse himself out of an abundance of caution.
CNN also reported that Whitaker was never briefed on the investigation, but was given a “heads up” that Michael Cohen was to plead guilty in lying to Congress. Whitaker’s new role is said to raise questions for Democrats on the Hill in regards to the probe itself and the ethics surrounding the investigation.