I have ‘not interfered’ with Mueller investigation, Whitaker says

Cheryl Sanders
February 10, 2019

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker faced a sharply divided USA congressional committee Friday, with Democrats pressing him on his relationship to President Donald Trump and oversight of the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation.

At times, Whitaker appeared to be adopting deliberate stalling tactics to avoid answering Democrats' questions.

In a combative congressional hearing, Whitaker said he had not talked to Trump about the probe into whether Moscow tried to tip the 2016 presidential election, or "interfered in any way" in the investigation since taking his role in November.

The retort came after Nadler had chastised Whitaker for evading questions and said that he wanted Whitaker to appear before the committee "in the coming weeks" for a private deposition.

"I know you're very interested in the special counsel investigation", Whitaker noted sarcastically.

On MSNBC this afternoon, Nicolle Wallace said Whitaker was twisting into "contortions" to not say it when others like Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray have had no problem with. "That would have been considered a development that I would have been briefed on and I was briefed on that". The committee, he said, still needed answers from Whitaker on several fronts, including his communication with the President after his briefings on Mueller's probe and the exact dates of those briefings.

Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, called the hearing a "dog and pony show" and criticised Democrats for disclosing derogatory information about Whitaker's business dealings hours before the hearing.

NBC called it an "extraordinary move" for Whitaker to cut off Nadler.

Whitaker originally said that he would not testify if Democrats in the House continue to threaten him with a subpoena, but on Thursday evening he changed his stance and agreed to take part in the questioning.

Whitaker found himself in yet another standoff later as Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) attempted to ask a question about Whitaker's previous charity work.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker revealed on Friday that the US attorney for the Eastern District of California, Greg Scott, sat in on a briefing Whitaker received on special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

The acting attorney general said that Mueller was would finish the probe "when he wants to finish his investigation". "But, to answer your questions, I have not talked to the president about the special counsel's investigation".

Nadler, had threatened to do just that if committee members didn't get answers to questions they wanted; Democrats, who make up the panel's majority, voted to authorize a subpoena if necessary.

Whitaker would only say as acting attorney general he had to "set the tone for the entire department".

"We have obtained new documents showing that you failed to return thousands of dollars that were supposed to be distributed to the victims of World Patent Marketing's alleged fraud, despite your involvement...in handling complaints from individuals of the company's actions", four House committee chairman wrote in a letter to Whitaker dated Thursday.

"We have followed the special counsel regulations to a T", he said.

Other reports by iNewsToday