House committee approves tentative subpoena for Whitaker, despite his agreement to testify

Rep. Jerrold Nadler D-N.Y. joined at left by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte R-Va. makes a statement as the Republican-controlled panel crafts a bill to expand gun owners' rights the first gun legislation since mass shootings

Jackson Lee's response was triggered after she asked the House Judiciary Committee if her time to question the witness was restored and Whitaker replied that he was not sure.

Thursday's committee vote didn't issue a subpoena but allowed Nadler to do so if Whitaker was uncooperative.

Nadler did not detail his discussions with the department but tweeted Thursday evening: "CONFIRMED: Acting Attorney General Whitaker will appear tomorrow morning at 9:30am".

"How the heck did you become the head of the Department of Justice?"

Whitaker testified he had never spoken with members of Trump's inner circle about his views on the probe as a private citizen before he joined the Justice Department.

"It is our understanding that at least one briefing occurred between your decision not to recuse yourself on December 19 and six days later, Christmas Day", Nadler said.

Whitaker's highly anticipated testimony Friday had been in limbo after the Democratic-led committee approved a tentative subpoena to ensure that he appeared and answered questions.

"I will answer the committee's questions as best I can, but I will continue the long-standing executive branch practice of not disclosing information that may be subject to executive privilege such as the contents of conversations with the president", he stated.

House Launches New Investigation Into Trump, Russia
But Schiff said Wednesday morning that the interview had been postponed to February 28 "in the interests of the investigation". Cohen is still expected to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a closed-door interview next Wednesday.

Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the committee, called the whole hearing a dog and pony show, and said they should have popcorn for everyone. We have given you months to prepare.

Here is Whitaker's testimony, as prepared. The Democrat's "jaw dropped when Acting AG Whitaker told the chairman his 'five minutes is up, '" she reported.

The committee's Democrats want to question Whitaker about his oversight of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and his communications with the White House related to the probe and the firing of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Whitaker had publicly criticized the investigation before joining the Justice Department in 2017 but said on Friday he had not discussed it with Trump. The Democrats claim new records prove Whitaker failed to return the money meant to be distributed to victims.

Whitaker has come under scrutiny for his involvement with the invention-promotion company, World Patent Marketing, which was accused of misleading consumers and has been under investigation by the FBI. "To date, you have failed to respond to that letter or provide a single document that we requested".

Will Whitaker invoke executive privilege?

"I'm not going to surrender the responsibilities of the attorney general to get the title", he told Sen. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to recommend the confirmation of President Trump's permanent successor to Sessions: William Barr, who previously served as George H.W. Bush's attorney general in the early 1990s. "Thirdly and importantly, what I don't think your viewers know, is that when Matt says "I can't answer that question because it's privileged" or 'I can't answer that question because it's an ongoing investigation, ' if you're under subpoena, it makes it much easier for the committee to compel you to answer".

"Obviously, Whitaker wants to avoid answering certain questions, which will be hard for him to do if Nadler subpoenas him", he said.

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