Whitaker Agrees to Testify at House Hearing Friday

Lauren Victoria Burke  FR132934 AP

In the days before Friday's hearing, Nadler and Whitaker sparred over the conditions of the appearance, as NPR reported Friday. He called for an adjournment, a motion that was easily defeated. I'm asking you a question.

Whitaker, even while expressing exasperation at the questioning of Democrats, nonetheless sought to assuage their concerns by saying he had never discussed with Trump or other White House officials special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. Meanwhile, he could not have stated more emphatically that he meant to let the Mueller investigation run its course: "I believe it is vitally important that the special counsel be allowed to complete his investigation", he testified then. "You don't run the Congress of the United States, and you don't run the Judiciary Committee".

The hearing before the House Judiciary Committee was the first, and likely only, chance for newly empowered Democrats in the majority to grill an attorney general they perceive as a Donald Trump loyalist and whose appointment they suspect was aimed at suppressing investigations of the Republican president.

But after Collins raised the claim that CNN had been tipped off of the arrest by federal authorities, Whitaker said he did not "know of any other special counsel's office notice or DOJ notice to media outlets of Mr".

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.

"In your capacity as acting attorney general, have you ever been asked to approve any action or request to be taken by the special counsel?" Trump's nominee for a permanent attorney general, Republican William Barr (who served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s), could be confirmed by the full Senate as soon as next week. "I have and will continue to manage this investigation in a manner that is consistent with the governing regulations".

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Nadler added that as late as last week the committee had received reports that some at the department were counseling Whitaker not to appear. Whitaker responded by saying he wouldn't appear unless the committee dropped its subpoena threat, which he derided as an act of "political theater".

Nadler said that authorizing a subpoena for Whitaker was necessary because Whitaker failed to tell the committee whether the Trump administration would invoke privilege with respect to a series of questions they intend to ask about Whitaker's conversations with the White House about Mueller's probe and his decision not to recuse himself from the matter.

Republican Doug Collins assailed the goal for the hearing and unsuccessfully called for it to be adjourned.

The two sides continued discussions throughout the evening and eventually, according to Justice Department officials, Nadler agreed that no subpoena would be issued Thursday or Friday.

Since Democrats took control of the House last month, they have launched several congressional inquiries into Mr Trump's business dealings and his actions as president.

Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. He talks to Anna Maria Tremonti about his time working on Trump's campaign, and having the president's ear.

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