Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, and it’s a spectacle. We can already see why President Trump appointed him – he’s a tough man.
In an exhausting battle, Whitaker repeatedly refused to answer questions from committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler, with a rather interesting moment at the end.
In the first round of questions, Nadler began probing Whitaker’s actions with regard to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Whitaker often declined to immediately answer the question, but then would later answer it.
“At one point, he challenged Nadler on what the “basis” was for Nadler’s belief that Whitaker had been briefed on Mueller’s probe in December. Nadler noted that the “basis” was not Whitaker’s concern, and that he just needed to answer the question,” writes Washington Post.
At another point, Nadler asked Whitaker whether he had briefed President Trump or anyone close to him that might have then briefed Trump about it. Whitaker answered by saying: “I have not talked to the president of the United States about the special counsel’s investigation,” and “I do not believe I have briefed third-party officials outside of the Department of Justice.”
Eventually, after some pre-written monologues from the Democrat chair, he asked Whitaker: “In your capacity as acting attorney general, have you ever approved any request or action to be taken by the special counsel?”
Whitaker briefly paused before replying. “Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up, so…” said Whitaker. The entire hearing reacted loudly with gasps and some laughter. “We, I’m here voluntarily, we have agreed to five-minute rounds.”