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Matt Whitaker, the new acting attorney general, was well-known for his Iowa football years before his name was attached to Republican activism in the state.

The former starting tight end for the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 1991 Rose Bowl, Whitaker ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 2002 and U.S. Senate in 2014.

Whitaker, an Iowa native, was named Wednesday as acting attorney general after President Donald Trump fired Whitaker's predecessor, Jeff Sessions.

Trump had considered Whitaker for a variety of jobs, including the No. 2 post at the Justice Department or as White House counsel. Whitaker had served as Sessions’ chief of staff since October 2017.

More: Read Jeff Sessions' resignation letter: 'Thank you for the opportunity, Mr. President'

Here's more about Whitaker:

He has said Mueller's investigation was 'going too far'

Whitaker wrote a column for CNN in August 2017, that said Trump was right to question Special Counsel Robert Mueller for looking at the finances of the Trump Organization and the president’s family.

"The President is absolutely correct," Whitaker wrote. "Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russia 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing."

Investigating Trump's finances without additional authority "would raise serious concerns that the special counsel's investigation was a mere witch hunt," Whitaker wrote in the column.

In a July 2017 appearance on CNN, Whitaker said he could see a scenario where the "attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigations grinds to almost a halt."

He has run (unsuccessfully) for office in Iowa

Whitaker ran as a Republican for U.S. Senate in Iowa in 2014, in a race ultimately won by Sen. Joni Ernst. He earlier campaigned unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 2002.

During his 2014 U.S. Senate campaign, Whitaker said two centerpieces of his agenda were standing up for economic freedom and individual liberties.

During the campaign and afterwards, he described himself as "100 percent pro-life," as an opponent of "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants, and a supporter of Medicare reform and a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Whitaker, who will now oversee Mueller's investigation, chaired the 2014 Iowa state treasurer campaign of Sam Clovis.

Clovis later served as a co-chair of Trump's presidential campaign and encouraged staffer George Papadopoulos to pursue a meeting with Russian officials.

He was a federal prosecutor under George W. Bush

From 2004 to 2009, Whitaker served as President George W. Bush’s U.S. attorney for the southern district of Iowa. He also worked in private practice in Iowa and Minnesota.

He worked for a conservative watchdog organization

Between 2014 and 2017, Whitaker was executive director of a conservative watchdog group, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, based in Washington, D.C. He was also a legal commentator on CNN for four months in 2017 before joining the Justice Department.

He's a former football player who played in the Rose Bowl

Whitaker graduated from Ankeny High School, where he was inducted into the Iowa High School Football Hall of Fame. At the University of Iowa, he played football for coach Hayden Fry, including while he was starting law school. (He also has a Master of Business Administration.)

His first TV advertisement in his failed 2014 U.S. Senate campaign tried to capitalize on his ties to the Hawkeye football team.

Fry "taught us to always fight for Iowa," Whitaker said in the ad.

He tweets about the Hawkeyes. And politics. But mostly the Hawkeyes.

Whitaker has a Twitter account that he uses to promote his appearances on CNN and discuss politics, including North Korea.

Sometimes, he uses the account to wonder about the similarities between U.S. politics and Game of Thrones.

Or to discuss his love of CrossFit.

But mostly, he tweets to cheer on the Hawkeyes.

A lot.

USA Today contributed to this report.

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