Whitaker Cuts off Nadler: 'I See That Your Five Minutes is Up

09 February, 2019, 08:52 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker

Whitaker repeatedly declined to answer questions about when and how many times he was briefed on Mueller's probe, prompting committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to threaten to call him back for a deposition.

"Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up", Whitaker said, in a bold challenge to the head of the committee.

"Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up", Whitaker said.

The blogger said the Democrats on the committee "are trying to redirect nearly every topic back to the Russian Federation investigation, and Whitaker has repeatedly said that he wouldn't answer questions about his private conversations with the president".

Whitaker also repeatedly refused to answer questions regarding any ongoing investigations, yet last month he told reporters the ongoing Mueller investigation was "close to being completed." When they did ask questions about the investigation, Republicans asked whether it had strayed from the pursuit of possible crimes to targeting individuals, and whether key Justice Department officials were biased in the investigation.

Steve Cohen grilled Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker Friday over the Mueller probe and the lease of Washington, D.C.'s "Old Post Office" building for the Trump International Hotel. Democrats flexed their newfound investigatory powers at Whitaker's hearing, which acted as a crystal ball into what's likely to come for other Trump-related issues and members of the administration the party plans to investigate.

Democrats pushed Whitaker on whether he was still critical of the special counsel investigation he is now in charge of.

Whitaker had publicly criticized the investigation before joining the Justice Department in 2017 but said on Friday he had not discussed it with Trump. Whitaker balked at the subpoena threat until Nadler took a more conciliatory stance.

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"I'm thinking maybe we just set up a popcorn machine in the back", said Rep. Doug Collins, the committee's top Republican.

There was tension on Capitol Hill Friday, when acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker testified before the house Judiciary Committee.

Before they agreed to a hearing date, Nadler had maintained that Whitaker was dodging requests to appear. President Trump's decision to replace Sessions with Whitaker was always controversial, and not just because Sessions, who had recused himself from overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe, was forced out.

"We have followed the special counsel's regulations to a T", Whitaker told the House Judiciary Committee.

After Jackson Lee repeated her question to Whitaker, she quickly looked around and asked to confirm her time had been restored, interrupting the attorney general as he began to answer.

On social media, critics expressed shock at Whitaker's conduct, with some asserting that his rebuke of Nadler-like Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's angry testimony before a Senate committee in September-was likely for President Donald Trump's benefit. Keep in mind, Whitaker was willing to appear without the subpoena. "I say that with sadness, because the attorney general role is America's lawyer, we are his client, and we are represented by the congressmembers sitting in that room".

FBI Director Christopher Wray, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Trump's pick for attorney general, William Barr, have maintained that they do not believe the investigation to be a witch hunt.

Whitaker has come under scrutiny for his involvement with the invention promotion company, which was accused of misleading consumers and has been under investigation by the FBI. Collins said Friday the Democrats' move was part of a "character assassination".


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