In response to Nadler's questions, Whitaker insisted that he has "not interfered in any way" with the ongoing probe. "Political theater is not the objective of an oversight hearing, and I will not allow that to be the case", Whitaker wrote. He called for an adjournment, a motion that was easily defeated.
CNN's Brooke Baldwin spoke with him and said as they were watching, he said Whitaker "was playing way out of his league". He told lawmakers that there had been no change since his arrival in the job in the "overall management" of Mueller's investigation and that he has been faithful to the Constitution and to the law.
On Thursday, Democrats on the committee marked up a subpoena for possible use to compel his cooperation. Keep in mind, Whitaker was willing to appear without the subpoena.
Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) pressed Whitaker about Mueller's probe.
Whitaker's appearance at the 9:30 a.m. hearing ended a subpoena standoff between Democrats and the Justice Department, but he drew a strict line about what questions he would answer.
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We've got the possibility to make a big difference in our preparation and in everything. "Next year, you always hope, of course. He's been here so long so it's he knows what it takes for us to move up the table.
"Answer the question please", Nadler replied.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Thursday to recommend that the full Senate confirm Barr as attorney general, which could happen as soon as next week. "But, to answer your questions, I have not talked to the president about the special counsel's investigation". "And I have not interfered in any way with the special counsel's investigation".
Collins said the subpoena for Whitaker was "nothing short of political theater", but also said that should Whitaker break his promise to appear before the committee voluntarily, then he would support a subpoena.
"I am not your puppet, to repeat what you are saying", Mr. Whitaker responded.
Whitaker's appearance became questionable Thursday after the panel, led by Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of NY, approved a tentative subpoena to ensure that Whitaker would appear and answer questions.
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Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., tried to adjourn the hearing before it started, saying it was an attempt at character assassination of Trump.
"In light of that commitment", department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement, Whitaker looked forward to going to Capitol Hill and discussing "the great work" carried out by the department.
(Nota bene: Whitaker was under oath.) My observations are in the chronological order that Whitaker said them.
Whitaker sat on an advisory board of World Patent Marketing, which US regulators have accused of scamming consumers. The president has also said there was no collusion between his campaign and Russian Federation.
He noted it's a potential criminal charge, which would raise conflicts of interest issues because Whitaker oversees the department.
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Whitaker has been undertaking significant preparations ahead of the hearing, including conducting briefings with every the Justice Department component and participating in several mock hearings, according to the officials. He also has longstanding ties to Sam Clovis, the Trump campaign's national co-chairman in the 2016 election who said Mueller had questioned him; in 2014, he chaired Clovis' campaign for Iowa State Treasurer. The president could be damaged politically were there to be evidence of conspiracy or obstruction of justice.
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