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Matthew Whitaker Hearing Goes Off The Rails After He Chastises Chairman

10 February, 2019, 20:01 | Author: Lucille Rivera
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Despite Whitaker's clear answer, Jackson Lee complained she wanted a yes or no answer, but Nadler indicated to her that the questions was answered, so she moved on.

Trump's naming of Whitaker as acting attorney general caused controversy in part because it meant that the president's appointee oversees the probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether Moscow meddled in the election and colluded with Trump's campaign.

"I control this time, Mr. Whitaker", said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., when Whitaker accused him of challenging his character. "There has been no decision that has required me to take any action, and I have not interfered with special counsel's investigation in any way".

"I am here voluntarily, we have agreed to five-minute rounds", Whitaker said. That referred to the time limits for questions - one normally addressed by lawmakers, not witnesses.

The showdown began on Thursday, when Democrats on the committee voted to give committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) the authority to subpoena Whitaker to appear on Friday, despite Whitaker having already agreed to do so.

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

In a rare bipartisan overture, Nadler pledged last month to coordinate his subpoena efforts with the committee's top Republican, Doug Collins of Georgia. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to recommend the confirmation of President Trump's permanent successor to Sessions: William Barr, who previously served as George H.W. Bush's attorney general in the early 1990s. Nadler asked Whitaker if he and Trump had discussed the ongoing probe.

Trump promises to always protect people of faith
Trump also took credit Thursday for the release previous year of Andrew Brunson, an American minister jailed in Turkey. President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to always protect people of faith, and praised their role in American life.

The acting attorney general first challenged Nadler's line of questioning when the chairman asked whether he had been briefed on Mueller's investigation in December 2018, including just before announcing that he would not recuse himself from the probe.

Whitaker was a skeptic of Mueller before he came to work for the department, but he said his criticisms were based on the views of an outsider and that he's since gotten a better understanding of the case as acting attorney general. Whitaker was an outspoken critic of the investigation before arriving at the Justice Department in 2017. Nadler, who'd taken steps to a subpoena as a last-resort measure, said there would be no need for one if he showed up "prepared to respond to questions from our members".

Democrats also inquired about Whitaker's past business dealings.

Whitaker opened the House Judiciary Committee hearing by saying he would be citing executive privilege in response to some questions, and he certainly lived up to that promise.

Moscow has rejected USA intelligence findings that the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 presidential campaign, and Mr Trump has repeatedly denied any campaign collusion with Russian Federation.

"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.

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