Acting attorney general testifies on Capitol Hill
by Harvest Prude
Posted 2/08/19, 12:45 pm
WASHINGTON—In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Friday morning, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he “has not interfered in any way,” with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. During a contentious hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., asked Whitaker why he has not recused himself from overseeing the investigation and what President Donald Trump hoped to gain by appointing him. Whitaker responded that his leadership has not resulted in any “change in the overall management of the special counsel investigation.” He also said he has not discussed the investigation with the president or senior White House officials. Whitaker has overseen Mueller’s investigation since Trump ousted Jeff Sessions from the top position at the Department of Justice last year. Democrats have strongly criticized Whitaker’s appointment because of his past critical comments about the investigation.
The ranking Republican on the committee, Doug Collins of Georgia, criticized the hearing, calling it a “dog and pony show,” and, at the end of his opening remarks, asked for the hearing to be adjourned. His motion was defeated.
On Thursday, the committee voted to give Nadler the ability to issue a subpoena if Whitaker refused to testify. Whitaker warned that he would not attend the hearing unless lawmakers dropped the threat of a subpoena. Nadler ultimately capitulated but said at the hearing that he may consider issuing a subpoena at a later date.
Whitaker is unlikely to hold the position for much longer, as the Senate is set to take up the confirmation of Bill Barr, Trump’s pick to replace Sessions, in the coming weeks.
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Harvest is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and a reporter for WORLD.