Matthew Whitaker to Testify Before House Judiciary Committee at 9:30am ET

Erika Holt
February 9, 2019

The hearing came after a dispute over whether he could be forced to disclose his conversations with the president.

"But when career officials at the department recommended that you take steps to mitigate your apparent conflicts of interest, Mr. Whitaker - when they told you that your public criticism of the special counsel was bad for the department and bad for the administration of justice, you ignored them".

The Justice Department said Thursday that Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday as scheduled, ending a day's worth of uncertainty over whether he would appear.

"I felt that all the way through", Dean said.

Earlier on Thursday, Nadler said he hopes not to have to use the subpoena, but "a series of troubling events over the past few months suggest that we should be prepared".

Rep. Eric Swalwell, California Democrat, pressed Mr. Whitaker on his views about Mr. Mueller.

Collins, however, believes the fiasco is simply House Democrats' way of holding their own confirmation hearing for Whitaker and told them they should have run for Senate instead if that's what they're interested in doing.

Committee members are allotted five minutes to ask questions of Whitaker, or any other witness testifying, but those five minutes are monitored by the Chair and can be fluid.

"We now know the reason for this hearing".

Whitaker laid the groundwork for a likely tussle with Democrats by saying in his opening statement that while he would address their questions, he would not reveal details of his communications with the Republican president.

Nadler accused Whitaker of stalling but got pushback from the Republican Collins, who said Jackson Lee's demand of "yes or no" was inappropriate.

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NBC called it an "extraordinary move" for Whitaker to cut off Nadler.

Collins chided the Democrats for the hearing, characterizing it as "character assassination".

Jerry Nadler asks Matthew Whitaker if he has ever been asked to approve any request or action to be taken by the Special Counsel.

He asked Whitaker about the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrest of Roger Stone, the political operative who has longtime ties to Trump.

Justice Department ethics officials recommended Whitaker recuse himself from overseeing the Russian Federation investigation, a step he chose not to take. "Without the threat of a subpoena, I believe it may be hard to hold Mr. Whitaker to this standard".

He said he had "consulted with a lot of people" about the options, but it was ultimately his choice. Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries later railed at Whitaker.

Meanwhile, nominee Bill Barr will probably be confirmed as the new Attorney General.

Mr Whitaker wrote for CNN in August 2017 that the investigation was "dangerously close to crossing" a "red line".

But then Republicans pushed for a roll call on the vote, forcing each member to go on the record.

(Nota bene: Whitaker was under oath.) My observations are in the chronological order that Whitaker said them.

Whitaker also said that he had not briefed any "senior White House officials" about the investigation, although he declined to provide more specifics. Have you communicated anything you learned in that briefing about the investigation to President Trump?

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