WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker prepares to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill February 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. Following a subpoena fight between committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and the Justice Department, Whitaker was questioned about his oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker prepares to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill February 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. Following a subpoena fight between committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and the Justice Department, Whitaker was questioned about his oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:13
NYT: Trump asked Whitaker for new investigator on Cohen
CNN/Getty Images
Now playing
02:50
Carl Bernstein: Trump is our own American war criminal
CNN
Now playing
02:19
Tapper presses Republican on GOP resistance to January 6 probe
Now playing
01:35
Republican governor balks at Covid-19 mandates as state's cases soar
Dr. Fauci NIH research China Tapper sotu vpx _00023404.png
CNN
Dr. Fauci NIH research China Tapper sotu vpx _00023404.png
Now playing
03:13
Dr. Fauci weighs in on if US should collaborate with Wuhan labs in future
Pool
Now playing
02:06
WaPo: This is what Trump's PAC is spending its money on
CNN
Now playing
02:04
AZ lawmaker says audit 'not about Trump.' Her emails show otherwise
Getty Images
Now playing
01:55
'Almost giddy': Author describes Trump during Capitol riot
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, speaks during a news conference at West Miami Middle School in Miami on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/AP
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, speaks during a news conference at West Miami Middle School in Miami on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
Now playing
02:20
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blames this for surge in cases
CNN
Now playing
03:31
'I got elected to shake things up': Lightfoot on time as mayor
US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, speaks at her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on July 22, 2021. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, speaks at her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on July 22, 2021. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
01:21
Pelosi explains why she rejected GOP lawmakers from January 6 committee
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters with Vice President Mike Pence in the Oval Office at the White House July 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump hosted Republican Congressional leaders and members of his cabinet to talk about a proposed new round of financial stimulus to help the economy during the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.  (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters with Vice President Mike Pence in the Oval Office at the White House July 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump hosted Republican Congressional leaders and members of his cabinet to talk about a proposed new round of financial stimulus to help the economy during the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
06:43
Trump shares disappointment with Pence in new audio recording
Now playing
01:26
Pelosi just made an unprecedented move. Here's why
Biden town hall vpx
CNN
Biden town hall vpx
Now playing
01:45
Biden reveals what world leaders are asking him about America
Justice Department
Now playing
01:37
Ex-Army Ranger weaponized military training during Capitol riot, judge says
This Morning
Now playing
03:23
See what Ted Cruz is doing to frustrate Republicans and Democrats
Washington CNN —  

President Donald Trump asked then-acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker if a US attorney he appointed could oversee an investigation tied to himself after the US attorney in question had already recused himself from the probe, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Times report cited several US officials with direct knowledge of the call that the paper said occurred late last year.

Trump tapped Whitaker to lead the Justice Department in November after he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom Trump regularly slammed for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

Trump soured on Whitaker as well, according to Times, which said it was “unclear” what Whitaker did after the call. The Times said there was no evidence Whitaker took steps to intervene in the investigation Trump asked about, although the report said he told Justice Department associates that the prosecutors needed “adult supervision.”

CNN reported in December that Trump had lashed out at Whitaker on at least two occasions, angered by federal prosecutors who referenced Trump in crimes to which his former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty. The first instance came after Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow, and the second came after prosecutors implicated Trump in a hush-money scheme to silence women.

Trump later denied the CNN report in a tweet saying he had “great respect” for Whitaker.

Attorney General William Barr was confirmed last week to take over the department permanently.

Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said Whitaker told the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month that “‘at no time has the White House asked for nor have I provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel’s investigation or any other investigation.’ Mr. Whitaker stands by his testimony,” she said. When pressed directly by House Judiciary Committee members about any conversations with the President about the southern district of New York investigation Whitaker refused to answer.

Trump on Tuesday denied a question from a reporter about whether he asked Whitaker about a recusal matter in the case.

“No, I don’t know who gave you that,” Trump said.

Trump went on to praise Whitaker as “a very, very straight shooter” and said he had “a lot of respect” for him.

The President also praised Whitaker’s performance during the House Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this month, calling it “exceptional.”

“He should be given a lot of thanks from our nation,” Trump said. On Wednesday, he kept up his attacks on The New York Times and its report, calling it “false.”

The investigation Trump called Whitaker about is led by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, a Manhattan-based team that has prosecuted Cohen. After a showdown early in his White House tenure, Trump fired the head of that office.

Preet Bharara, the former US attorney who is now a CNN contributor, later said he felt if he had stayed on the job, Trump would have asked him “to do something inappropriate.”

Trump’s then-Attorney General Sessions went on to appoint Geoffrey Berman, a former law partner of Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, to lead the high-profile office. CNN reported after the federal raid on Cohen last year that Berman had been recused from the probe.

CNN’s Jessica Schneider, Betsy Klein, Laura Jarrett and Pamela Brown contributed to this report.