Acting AG Whitaker Spars with House Judiciary Committee over Special Counsel


On Friday morning, acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker will testify publicly before a decidedly unfriendly House Judiciary Committee, where Democrats will ask him about the Mueller investigation and his decision not to recuse himself.

When Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) asked Whitaker if he'd ever been asked to "approve any request or action to be taken by" Mueller, the acting AG answered, "Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up, so".

Whitaker and Nadler then clashed when the witness informed the chair his five-minute time limit to ask questions had run out.

"Before we adjourn, I want to note for the record, Mr. Whitaker, you owe us responses on a number of issues raised here today", said Nadler, who then rattled off several of the questions.

Whitaker was willing to travel up to Capitol Hill and talk to lawmakers voluntarily, the Justice Department said - but not under subpoena, and he demanded a guarantee on Thursday that Nadler not slap him with a subpoena at the hearing in the event he didn't answer a question.

"I have not talked to the president of the United States about the special counsel's investigation", Whitaker told a U.S.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker revealed on Friday that the US attorney for the Eastern District of California, Greg Scott, sat in on a briefing Whitaker received on special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. "We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well!" The Senate is expected to vote as soon as next week on confirming William Barr, Trump's pick for attorney general. Whitaker indicated he would not appear unless Nadler withdrew the subpoena.

Whitaker testified following a lengthy fight with Nadler over the prospect that he would be subpoenaed for not answering questions.

Whitaker testified he had never spoken with members of Trump's inner circle about his views on the probe as a private citizen before he joined the Justice Department.

"I'm not kidding when I say I have interviewed terrorists who are more cooperative and respectful than Matt Whitaker was today", Figliuzzi began, provoking laughter from MSNBC host Nicole Wallace.

Whitaker found himself in yet another standoff later as Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) attempted to ask a question about Whitaker's previous charity work. The Democratic chairman asked Whitaker repeatedly how often he'd been briefed on the Russian Federation probe, and whether he had relayed any of that information to the president.

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the committee's top Republican, criticized the hearing as "pure political theater" and a "dog and pony show".

"We have followed the special counsel's regulations to a T, " Whitaker told the House Judiciary Committee. Whitaker promptly responded by saying he would not attend the hearing if the subpoena was used. Nadler and three other House committee chairmen released documents that they said show Whitaker failed to return thousands of dollars that were supposed to be distributed to victims of a company's alleged fraud.

Demings also asked if Whitaker agreed with Trump's statement at a rally previous year, "Look what's being exposed at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation".