Matt Whitaker Tries Bailing On Congressional Testimony After Democrats Threaten Subpoena

Matt Whitaker Tries Bailing On Congressional Testimony After Democrats Threaten Subpoena

Matt Whitaker Tries Bailing On Congressional Testimony After Democrats Threaten Subpoena

Democrats on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Thursday prepared a subpoena to compel acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to testify on Friday, prompting Whitaker to say he will not appear unless the subpoena threat is lifted.

Mariotti then explained that if Mueller or the Southern District of NY want to know what Trump has told Whitaker, those conversations aren't going to be privileged.

"I hope and expect that the subpoena will not be necessary", Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said, but he cited "troubling events" including previous efforts by the Justice Department to delay Whitaker's appearance.

The questions mainly have to do with Whitaker's communications with President Trump and the White House about Mueller's probe and other DOJ investigations with links to Trump. A Justice Department spokesperson told Fox News earlier this week that Whitaker had, in fact, accepted Nadler's invitation to testify in public. If he doesn't, Nadler plans on subpoenaing Whitaker during questioning to force him to answer. Political theater is not the objective of an oversight hearing, and I will not allow that to be the case. But this set off a chain reaction, prompting Whitaker to threaten to do just that. Republican Representative Jim Jordan of OH said.

Nadler said that as late as last week the committee had received reports that some at the department were counselling Whitaker not to appear.

Whitaker charged that the committee had "deviated from historic practice and protocol and taken the unnecessary and premature step of authorizing a subpoena to me, the acting attorney general, even though I had agreed to voluntarily appear".

Committee Republicans stuck with a theme they pursued when they controlled the panel: alleged anti-Trump bias in the Justice Department.

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Republicans proposed an amendment, offered by Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, to add Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein - a familiar target of the GOP given his past oversight of the Mueller probe - to Nadler's subpoena, which was rejected by Democrats.

The letter outlined a number of questions that Whitaker is prepared to answer and gave Nadler a 6 p.m. Thursday deadline to provide assurances he would not issue a subpoena before or during Friday's hearing.

Nadler argued in a letter sent to Whitaker last month that he could not claim the White House reserved the right to claim executive privilege to avoid answering those questions. "Similarly, I would view with considerable skepticism any effort to decline to answer on the basis that the inquiry is related to an ongoing criminal investigation". That gives Whitaker wiggle room, according to current and former USA officials. The last attorney general to be held in contempt was Eric Holder during the Obama administration. "Nobody likes executive privilege battles".

Whitaker could also refuse to answer detailed questions about Mueller's investigation and grand jury proceedings, Green said.

Whitaker, in a statement, said he would show up only if Democrats committed not to issue a subpoena. You and the Acting Attorney General agreed upon tomorrow's testimony.

Trump's nomination of William Barr as attorney general is scheduled for a vote on Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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