Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker slammed Rep. Eric Swalwell on Friday after the lawmaker asked if he thinks special counsel Robert Mueller is honest.
The lawmaker from California asked Whitaker at a House Judiciary Committee hearing to say, “Mr. President, Bob Mueller is honest and not conflicted.”
“Congressman, I am not a puppet to repeat what you’re saying,” Whitaker fired back. “I have answered your question as to what I believe about the special counsel.”
Earlier during the hearing, Whitaker told Swalwell he believes Mueller to be honest, but the lawmaker continued to push Whitaker to tell Trump he thinks the special counsel is also truthful and not conflicted.
President Trump called Robert Mueller a “conflicted prosecutor gone rogue” in November. Whitaker declined when pressed again on whether he thinks Mueller is honest.
“Congressman, I am not here to be a puppet to repeat terms and words that you say that I should say,” Whitaker said.
Matthew Whitaker took over as acting AG in November after Trump fired Jeff Sessions. He previously served as Sessions’ chief of staff.
Since taking over the Justice Department, Whitaker has come under fire for his past comments about Mueller’s investigation.
His criticisms of the Russia probe led to calls for him to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation. However, the Justice Department said in December Whitaker would not step aside.
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