Acting Attorney General 'has not' spoken to Trump about Russian Federation probe

Whitaker says he won't testify unless House panel abandons subpoena threat

The New York Democrat later confirmed that Whitaker will appear on Friday morning.

He told lawmakers that there has been no change since his arrival in the job in the "overall management" of special counsel's Robert Mueller investigation.

Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the Justice Department on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 8, 2019.

Republicans made clear they regarded Friday's hearing as a partisan exercise and a waste, given Whitaker's status as a probable short-timer.

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.

Democrats pushed Whitaker on whether he was still critical of the special counsel investigation he is now in charge of.

"We have been quite public about our intention to obtain this information from Mr. Whitaker".

She said House Democrats' view of Whitaker was condescending, and they wanted to intimidate the acting AG.

"Still, House Democrats warned him not to interfere with the investigation in the several days he had left before the Senate confirms Barr as attorney general". Since then, he has repeatedly shown that he is in way over his head at the Department, as when he asserted last week that the "decisions" of the Mueller investigation-which, he suggested, is "close to being completed"-"are going to be reviewed, you know, either through the various means we have". Whitaker responded by saying he won't appear unless the committee dropped its subpoena threat, which he derided as an act of "political theater".

Whitaker said he can't talk about ongoing investigations, but that yes, he has been briefed on them.

After Whitaker objects, Raskin admonishes him that "this is my time".

'In your capacity as acting attorney general, have you ever been asked to approve any action or request to be taken by the special counsel?' he asked. The rules are that you are here, so I need to ask the question and I need to have my time restored so that you can behave appropriately.

Instead, Whitaker said he has not interfered with Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including the possibility that Trump's campaign colluded in that effort.

"Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up". Whitaker was an outspoken critic of the investigation before arriving at the Justice Department in 2017.

"I will not allow the witness to stall and waste members' time", Nadler said. Nadler reminded Whitaker that the committee had submitted questions relating to the special counsel investigation and was waiting on answers.

(Nota bene: Whitaker was under oath.) My observations are in the chronological order that Whitaker said them.

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