Nadler Threatens to Subpoena Whitaker After Contentious Hearing

10 Février, 2019, 10:41 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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There was tension on Capitol Hill Friday, when acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker testified before the house judiciary committee. The committee, he said, still needed answers from Whitaker on several fronts, including his communication with the President after his briefings on Mueller's probe and the exact dates of those briefings.

The hearing came a day after the chairman, Democratic Rep. Nadler reminded Whitaker that the committee had submitted questions relating to the special counsel investigation and was waiting on answers.

Raising his voice, Raskin cut off Whitaker before he could continue.

"I trust that the Members of this Committee will respect the confidentiality that is necessary to the proper functioning of the Presidency - just as we respect the confidentiality necessary to the Legislative Branch", Whitaker said.

'We have followed the special counsel's regulations to a tee.

Under questioning by Nadler, Whitaker proved combative and sought to dodge questions about his conversations with Trump and his top advisers, citing long-standing policy against disclosing details of such discussions.

Rosenstein also has tried to reassure people outside the Justice Department that irrespective of who is actually supervising the special counsel's office - whether him or Whitaker or the next likely attorney general, William Barr - the Mueller investigation would be handled "appropriately".

He also testified he had taken no actions related to the probe.

When asked if he believes Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is a witch hunt, Whitaker wouldn't say, replying, "It would be inappropriate for me to talk about an ongoing investigation".

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He said he was briefed beforehand about the indictment last month of Roger Stone, an informal adviser to Trump and a longtime political operative who helped launch the president's political career. That referred to the time limits for questions - one normally addressed by lawmakers, not witnesses. "And your humor is not acceptable", Jackson Lee said.

Nadler then used the disruption to call a break.

"It's becoming a show", said the Republican congressman Doug Collins, of Georgia, who accused his Democratic colleagues of "character assassination".

"Mr. attorney general, we're not joking here". Also expected to come up was Whitaker's comment last week that he believed the investigation into potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign was almost done.

Demings also asked if Whitaker agreed with Trump's statement at a rally previous year, "Look what's being exposed at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation".

"In my view, your conduct, Mr. Whitaker - including your decision to ignore important ethics advice when you became acting attorney general, no matter the consequences - your conduct, sir, falls well short of the mark", Nadler said.

Republicans, meanwhile, dismissed the hearing with the lame-duck attorney general as a political stunt and even moved to end it before it began.

Whitaker, the committee heads said, has not repaid those funds.

"Congressman, I am not here to be a puppet to repeat terms and words that you say that I should say", Whitaker told Swalwell Friday. But Nadler told reporters after the hearing that he was not happy with Whitaker's answers and said he intends to bring him back for an additional deposition.

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