Acting Attorney General Whitaker battles angry lawmakers at hearing

Acting Attorney General Whitaker battles angry lawmakers at hearing

Acting Attorney General Whitaker battles angry lawmakers at hearing

Amid a contentious hearing with Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, one Democrat scolded the Department of Justice chief, accusing him of not taking the lawmakers' questions seriously.

Nadler did not detail his discussions with the department but tweeted Thursday evening: "CONFIRMED: Acting Attorney General Whitaker will appear tomorrow morning at 9:30am". "We have followed the special counsel's investigations to a 'T.' There has been no event - no decision that has required me to take any action - and I have not interfered in any way with the special counsel's investigation". Despite previously telling reporters that Mueller's investigation was "close to being completed," Whitaker said he could not answer questions about ongoing investigations.

Republicans dismissed the hearing with Whitaker as a political stunt and moved to end it before it began. And I took notes on what we learned (or re-learned) from what Whitaker said (and didn't).

Here is Whitaker's testimony, as prepared.

"The chairman has made the commitment that we requested, and agreed that, if Mr. Whitaker voluntarily appears at tomorrow's hearing, the committee will not issue a subpoena on or before February 8", spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement.

Whitaker and Nadler have been at odds all week over Nadler's desire to get him to answer certain questions about his White House communications regarding Mueller and other DOJ probes linked to President Trump.

After Whitaker's statement, Collins said Nadler had overplayed his hand.

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

The motion fell with a voice vote and Collins requested a roll call vote of all committee members.

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The Texas Democrat was trying to ask Whitaker if he had a confirmation hearing and if it has been more than ten years since he has testified before Congress.

Later, Collins questioned Whitaker about the indictment of Trump's long-time friend Roger Stone, including how CNN had a reporter in front of Stone's house when he was arrested.

But Nadler, who a day earlier had threatened to subpoena Mr Whitaker to ensure his appearance, left no doubt about his party's focus.

"Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up", Whitaker said to Nadler, who controls the committee and can speak as long as he wants, though other members are generally limited to the agreed-upon five-minute mark. Whitaker is still the nation's top law enforcement officer until the Senate confirms attorney general nominee William Barr.

Moscow has rejected United States intelligence findings that the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 presidential campaign, and Mr Trump has repeatedly denied any campaign collusion with Russian Federation.

The committee chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of NY, said in a tweet on Thursday night that Whitaker "will appear tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m". "But, to answer your questions, I have not talked to the president about the special counsel's investigation".

Nadler mentioned the battle over whether Whitaker would show up, suggesting that since Whitaker showed up there isn't a need to resort to a subpoena - "for now", he added after pausing ever so briefly.

Whitaker also denied media reports that Trump lashed out at him after learning his former lawyer and personal fixer Michael Cohen was pleading guilty for lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow.

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