I have ‘not interfered’ with Mueller investigation, Whitaker says

Posted February 09, 2019

After Whitaker's attempt at a diversion, Nadler reminded committee members that 'we didn't enforce the five-minute rule on Acting Attorney General Whitaker, ' whose opening statement ran more than 11 minutes.

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.

There was laughter and audible "Ohhhs" in the room as Nadler smiled and Whitaker attempted to justify his non-answer by saying, "I'm here voluntarily, we've agreed to five-minute rounds".

"I'm thinking maybe we just set up a popcorn machine in the back", said Georgia Congressman Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. Whitaker responded. "Congresswoman, as I've mentioned several times, I am not talking about the conversations that I've had with the president or the rest of his senior staff".

Whitaker's testimony, or lack thereof, "appears created to delay answering these questions as long as possible", Nadler told him during the hearing.

More news: Taliban not seeking to seize whole of Afghanistan

Mr Whitaker toggled between defending his role in the special counsel's investigation and echoing the president's talking points, conceding for instance that while foreign interference in United States elections was a problem, so too was voter fraud - a key issue for Republicans, but one that Democrats say is overstated.

"I have not interfered in any way with the special counsel investigation", Whitaker told the committee.

"The subpoena will only be issued if he refuses to answer questions on a speculative basis of privilege", Nadler said.

Nadler and Democrats on Friday, meanwhile, likely also want to ask Whitaker about more than the Russian Federation investigation.

The Daily Wire's Emily Zanotti noted, "CNN reports that Whitaker has been "fully briefed" on Mueller's investigation and that he anticipates a swift end to the probe". "You asked the Acting Attorney General to come testify". Whitaker knows this, which is why he hedged his bets that he could evade certain questions and ultimately get away with it. Democrats in Congress know too that to push him with a subpoena could land them in a lengthy court battle which might not wind up going their way (or if it does, might be too late to have a meaningful impact).

More news: Duchess of Sussex's 'best friends' rally to her defense

"On November 14, 2018, as the incoming chairmen of the four House committees of jurisdiction, we sent a letter requesting that you produce eight categories of documents relating to your work on behalf of World Patent Marketing and your communications with Scott Cooper, the company's CEO and founder", the letter said.

On Thursday, Democrats on the committee marked up a subpoena for possible use to compel his cooperation. The Democrat's "jaw dropped when Acting AG Whitaker told the chairman his 'five minutes is up, '" she reported.

"I am not your puppet, to repeat what you are saying", Mr. Whitaker responded. Collins replied, referring to the Obama administration's Attorneys General Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder.

Former Republican governor Chris Christie has known U.S. President Donald Trump for 17 years, but says the advice he's offered hasn't always been heeded. Whitaker was an outspoken critic of the investigation before arriving at the Justice Department in 2017.

More news: Trump calls for end of resistance politics in State of Union