Whitaker: I have 'not interfered' with Mueller investigation

Frederick Owens
February 10, 2019

Jerrold Nadler's (D-N.Y.) line of questioning. After Jeff Sessions was sacked last November, Whitaker was raised to the role apparently on the merits of his history of denouncing the special counsel investigation on cable TV, and promptly refused to recuse himself from that investigation despite a top Justice Department ethics official advising him to do so.

"[Democrats] are going so far to the left, so radical, so rude that I think the American public is gonna wake up", she said.

"We have followed the special counsel's regulations to a T", Whitaker said.

Whitaker went on: "I'm here voluntarily".

The setup for Whitaker's hearing was fairly typical: Committee members did the asking in five-minute increments. (Nota bene: Whitaker was under oath.) My observations are in the chronological order that Whitaker said them.

Collins, of Georgia, called it a "dog and pony" show and criticized Democrats for disclosing derogatory information about Whitaker's business dealings hours before the hearing. That's at least in part because his stewardship began in November with Jeff Sessions' resignation and could end next week if the Senate confirms William Barr to the post.

"Your failure to respond fully to our questions here today in no way limits the ability of this committee to get answers in the long run, even if you are a private citizen when we finally learn the truth", Mr. Nadler said. House Democrats also berated Whitaker on the administration's immigration policy and about family separations at the border.

He asked Whitaker about the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrest of Roger Stone, the political operative who has longtime ties to Trump. The acting Attorney General repeatedly refused to discuss his conversations with Trump.

Whitaker is directly overseeing the Mueller-led investigation, which has focused on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow during the 2016 USA presidential elections and whether the president obstructed justice, among other things.

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The Acting Attorney General also told the Chairman he will be invoking executive privilege if asked about any conversations with President Trump.

The only other staffer present during the Mueller briefing was Gregg Scott, US attorney from the eastern district of California, Mr Whitaker said.

But Whitaker then warned he would not show up unless lawmakers dropped the threat.

Members from both sides of the aisle questioned Whitaker during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Friday.

"It's getting a little tiresome hearing you stall", the New York Democrat told Whitaker.

Former Republican governor Chris Christie has known U.S. President Donald Trump for 17 years, but says the advice he's offered hasn't always been heeded.

Stone was arrested before dawn January 25 on a federal indictment that outlined efforts by Trump's 2016 campaign to seek Democratic Party emails hacked by Russian Federation.

Differences over a barrier were the crux of a dispute between Democrats and Trump that led to the recent partial government shutdown - and the government could shut down again unless negotiators can make progress on a deal to fund the Department of Homeland Security.

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