Whitaker, After Clash With U.S. House Panel, Agrees to Appear

Whitaker, After Clash With U.S. House Panel, Agrees to Appear

Democrats spent much of the hearing grilling Whitaker on why he did not recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel investigation when he was appointed acting attorney general, what conversations he had with the president about the investigation, and whether his opposition to the special counsel before he took the job played a role in his appointment.

Though clearly exasperated - he drew gasps and chuckles when he told the committee chairman that his five-minute time limit for questions was up - Whitaker nonetheless sought to assuage Democratic concerns by insisting he had never discussed the Mueller probe with Trump or other White House officials, and that there'd been no change in its "overall management". "I'm here voluntarily, I agreed to five-minute rounds".

In his opening remarks, Whitaker said he was ready to answer questions -but not all of them.

Whitaker's highly anticipated testimony Friday had been in limbo after the Democratic-led committee approved a tentative subpoena to ensure that he appeared and answered questions. More particularly, Democrats were prepared to home in on the independence of the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller from White House interference and improper political considerations. But when Jordan asked him whether specific names were in the document - which Jordan charged would go against Justice Department policy - Whitaker demurred. "The rules are that you are here, so I need to ask the question, and I need to have my time restored so that you can behave appropriately".

For weeks, Democrats on the committee hoped they would get the chance to question Whitaker about his views on Mueller's investigation, any actions Whitaker has taken related to the probe and his decision not to recuse from the investigation after Justice Department ethics officials recommended he do so.

After a round of follow-ups, Jeffries concluded by demanding Whitaker not interfere in Mueller's investigation. Whitaker's terse response was that Nadler has run out of time to ask the question. Whitaker demanded, and eventually received, assurances that he would not be subpoenaed if he appeared.

Whitaker also reminded the committee that attorney general nominee William Barr would likely take over his job as attorney general in a week, and scolded lawmakers for not asking him about the Justice Department's work on violent crime, the opioid crisis, religious liberty, and free speech on college campuses.

Rep. Doug Collins R-Georgia the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee center objects to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler D-N.Y. left summoning Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker before the Democratic-controlled panel on C

I watched the hearing.

Emerging from an hours-long testimony with Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, in which he offered wavering or unclear answers while stating he has not influenced the ongoing Russian Federation probe, Democrats showed frustration.

"Congresswoman, I am an acting attorney general". He stopped short of asserting executive privilege, the contention that a president needs to be able to rely on confidential counsel from his advisers.

Democrats expressed dissatisfaction with Whitaker's testimony, with Nadler concluding the hearing by telling Whitaker he is planning to call him back for an interview, by subpoena if necessary. Keep in mind, Whitaker was willing to appear without the subpoena. On Thursday, Democrats on the committee marked up a subpoena for possible use to compel his cooperation.

Whitaker fired back, "Congressman, I'm not a puppet to repeat what you're saying".

For his part, Collins called the daylong hearing a "dog and pony show".

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