Whitaker: I have 'not interfered' with Mueller investigation

Whitaker: I have 'not interfered' with Mueller investigation

Whitaker: I have 'not interfered' with Mueller investigation

Democrats spent much of the hearing grilling Whitaker on why he did not recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel investigation when he was appointed acting attorney general, what conversations he had with the president about the investigation, and whether his opposition to the special counsel before he took the job played a role in his appointment.

"Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes are up", Whitaker said to the committee's Democratic leader, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of NY.

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

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 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 Trump. 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.

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".

Whitaker testified he had never spoken with members of Trump's inner circle about his views on the probe as a private citizen before he joined the Justice Department. Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries later railed at Whitaker.

"The time for this administration to postpone accountability is over", Nadler said.

Nadler later agreed to drop the threat, after Whitaker said he would back out from testifying if the subpoena was served.

That drew a response from Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the committee.

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

Whitaker said that he understood that the issues discussed were important to Cohen and would try to answer the best he could.

"Still, House Democrats warned him not to interfere with the investigation in the several days he had left before the Senate confirms Barr as attorney general". Whitaker on Friday declined to answer many of those questions - claiming he was reserving the right of Trump to invoke executive privilege, something the President hasn't formally done yet.

His answers to Democrats' questions often focused on procedure and involved rhetorical wind-ups that ate up precious seconds.

"I can assure this committee that before appointing me to this position, the president did not ask for and I did not provide any promises beforehand", Whitaker answered. On Thursday, Democrats on the committee marked up a subpoena for possible use to compel his cooperation. Whitaker promptly responded by saying he would not attend the hearing if the subpoena was used.

Democrats demanded he recuse himself, and have called for an investigation into his decision not to recuse despite the recommendation from DOJ ethics officials.

"Did Rod Rosenstein direct Robert Mueller to target specific Americans?" he wondered.

Whitaker also insisted the agency is complying with regulations.

As IJR Red reported, Collins called the hearing "pointless" and a "character assassination".

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