- The Washington Times - Friday, February 8, 2019

Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker testified before the House Judiciary Committee Friday — and pulled no punches in fending off Democratic queries.

After telling the committee he had not spoken with President Trump or senior White House officials about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, was incredulous.

After a lengthy, contentious exchange, Mr. Whitaker finally replied: “Mr. Chairman, your five minutes are up.”

The chamber erupted with laughter to Mr. Whitaker’s response.   

Here is what led to that back-and-forth: Mr. Nadler asked Mr. Whitaker if he had been briefed on the Mueller probe after his decision not to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation. Mr. Whitaker repeatedly pressed the lawmaker to explain his basis for the question.

“You are asking me a question as to your understanding, are you going to tell me where —,” Whitaker said before being interrupted by Mr. Nadler.

“I’m not going to tell you,” Mr. Nadler shot back. “Just tell me if it is correct or not. It is a simple question.”

Mr. Whitaker responded, “If every member today asked questions based on their speculation —,” before being interrupted a second time by Mr. Nadler.

The acting attorney general remained evasive, saying he would not talk about his private conversations with the president and adding he had not spoken with Mr. Trump or any other senior White House official about the Mueller probe.

Mr. Whitaker had signaled to lawmakers ahead of the hearing that he would not talk about his conversations with Mr. Trump.

The committee’s top Republican, Rep. Doug Collins, Georgia, blasted Mr. Nadler for holding the hearing, calling it “nothing more than character assassination.”

Mr. Collins also called the hearing “pointless,” noting that by this time next week, Mr. Trump’s pick for attorney general, William Barr, will be leading the department, not Mr. Whitaker.



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