Thursday, 25 April, 2019


Acting AG Whitaker Spars with House Judiciary Committee over Special Counsel

Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images North America Chip Somodevilla Getty Images North America
Bennie Garza | 10 February, 2019, 20:00

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.

In a letter, the heads of the House Oversight and Reform, Energy and Commerce, Judiciary and Intelligence committees said new records showed Whitaker did not return money to consumers who had complained about the company's practices.

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.

"We have followed the special counsel's regulations 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", Whitaker said.

"I am here voluntarily, we have agreed to five-minute rounds", Whitaker said. "It is very unusual for a witness to mention the time limit, and even more so for a witness to accuse the chairman of a panel of having gone over his time limit". Near the beginning of the hearing, the 49-year-old informed Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler that his five-minutes questioning time had expired, prompting gasps from the chamber.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., tried to adjourn the hearing before it started, saying it was an attempt at character assassination of Trump.

"Mr. Whitaker, you don't run this committee", Raskin said. But Whitaker declined to say if he had discussed with Rosenstein the deputy attorney general's comments about invoking the 25th Amendment in an effort to trigger Trump's removal from office.

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".

"Mr. Attorney General, we're not joking here and your humor is not acceptable", Jackson Lee told Whitaker.

The committee will debate a resolution to approve a subpoena on Thursday, Nadler said.

"I'm proud of my passion, Mr. Whitaker", she tweeted. If Matt Whitaker had been on trial for the crime of jay-walking or littering, if the Democrats had their way, he would be on death row by now.

The House Judiciary Committee prepared the subpoena, at the same time the Senate Judiciary Committee was supposed to vote to send the nomination of William Barr to become Attorney General to the floor shortly after 10 am Thursday.

Differences over a barrier were the crux of a dispute between Democrats and Trump that led to the recent partial government shutdown - and the government could shut down again unless negotiators can make progress on a deal to fund the Department of Homeland Security.

"When our members ask you if you conveyed sensitive information to the president, or ignored ethics advice at the direction of the president, or worked with the White House to orchestrate the firing of your predecessor, the answer should be 'no, '" Nadler added.

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

Trump insists there was "no collusion" between his campaign and Russian Federation.

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