Acting AG Whitaker tells House panel he hasn't interfered with Mueller probe

House panel votes to authorize subpoena for Whitaker

House panel votes to authorize subpoena for Whitaker

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker fired back when Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell tried to corner him during Friday's House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Nadler sent a letter to Whitaker last month with the questions he meant to ask, requesting Whitaker to say then and there if he meant to invoke executive privilege.

"We have followed the special counsel regulations to a T", he said. "There has been no decision that has required me to take any action, and I have not interfered with the special counsel's investigation in any way".

After a round of follow-ups, Jeffries concluded by demanding Whitaker not interfere in Mueller's investigation.

In his opening statement, he tore into Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) for the way the hearing was arranged and why.

Mr Whitaker is due to be replaced by William Barr after a Senate confirmation hearing in the coming weeks.

"I am not kidding when I say I have interviewed terrorists who were more cooperative and respectful than Matt Whitaker was today", Figliuzzi told host Nicolle Wallace.

"Similarly, Nadler prepared to subpoena Whitaker in case Whitaker refused to answer any of the questions", Mariotti continued. "We have agreed to five-minute rounds", said Whitaker, seemingly surprised by the room's response.

Boyd laid out an argument for asserting such executive privilege in the letter, saying that administration officials from both parties have declined to answer questions about conversations they have had with the president.

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Republicans proposed an amendment, offered by Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, to add Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein - a familiar target of the GOP given his past oversight of the Mueller probe - to Nadler's subpoena, which was rejected by Democrats.

Nadler then launched into his opening statement.

Within minutes of the hearing, the top Republican, Rep. Doug Collins, called for a vote to adjourn, although he was quickly overruled by Democrats.

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

"In your capacity as acting attorney general, have you ever been asked to approve any request or action to be taken by the special counsel?" asked Nadler.

The hearing was the first, and likely only, chance for newly empowered Democrats in the majority to grill an attorney general they perceive as a Trump loyalist and whose appointment they suspect was aimed at suppressing investigations of the Republican president. "He's an outstanding person, a very very fine man", Trump said during a presidential memorandum signing in the Oval Office Thursday. "The rules are that you are here, and I need to ask the question and I need to have my time restored so that you can behave appropriately".

Whitaker had threatened not to show up to the hearing after Democrats approved a subpoena if he didn't answer all their questions, but the committee chairman dropped the threat Thursday night.

Nadler told CNN Democrats will not be intimidated by Trump. Also expected to come up was Whitaker's comment last week that he believed the investigation into potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign was almost done.

Whitaker also denied media reports that Trump lashed out at him after learning his former lawyer and personal fixer Michael Cohen was pleading guilty for lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow.

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