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Matthew Whitaker to Testify Before House Judiciary Committee at 9:30am ET

Matthew Whitaker to Testify Before House Judiciary Committee at 9:30am ET

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. And I took notes on what we learned (or re-learned) from what Whitaker said (and didn't).

The House hearing almost derailed on Thursday when Democrats on the panel voted to authorize Nadler to issue a subpoena to compel Whitaker to appear and answer questions. Numerous questions centered on Whitaker's media appearances before joining the Justice Department in which he railed against special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

When Whitaker seemingly tried to joke about timing with another Democratic committee member, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, she was having none of it. "Mr. Attorney General, we're not joking here, and your humor is not acceptable", she said. Jackson Lee was indignant.

According to CNN, former Trump associate Roger Stone was "one of the last key campaign associates" to be investigated.

Whitaker is likely in his final days as the country's chief law enforcement officer because the Senate plans to vote soon on confirming William Barr, Trump's pick for attorney general.

Whitaker never directly answered Nadler about whether anyone had ever asked him to intervene with Mueller.

We're live-blogging Whitaker's testimony. Nadler asked Whitaker if he had discussed the ongoing investigation with Trump.

"But when career officials at the department recommended that you take steps to mitigate your apparent conflicts of interest, Mr. Whitaker - when they told you that your public criticism of the special counsel was bad for the department and bad for the administration of justice, you ignored them". I ask the department to work with the committee to provide them.

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"In my view, your conduct, Mr. Whitaker - including your decision to ignore important ethics advice when you became acting attorney general, no matter the consequences - your conduct, sir, falls well short of the mark", Nadler said.

Under questioning from Democrat Chairman Jerry Nadler, Whitaker confirmed he hasn't interfered with the probe or discussed it the White House.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) denounced the "theatrics" of the proceedings and said they were "nothing more than a character assassination".

Over the past several weeks there have been a lot of questions circulating around whether or not Whitaker would voluntarily testify. Have you communicated anything you learned in that briefing about the investigation to President Trump?

"I'm not going to surrender the responsibilities of the attorney general to get the title", he told Sen.

"If you appear before the committee tomorrow morning and if you are prepared to respond to questions from our members, then I assure you that there will be no need for the committee to issue a subpoena on or before February 8", Nadler wrote.

Democrats said they would inquire about Whitaker's past business dealings, too.


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