Matthew Whitaker. Photo from the U.S. Department of Justice.
In a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he has not been involved in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The committee’s Democrats, including the chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler from New York, pushed Whitaker throughout a contentious hearing to explain what he had been told about the Mueller investigation and whether he approved steps taken by Mueller. The Washington Post, Newsweek and CNN have coverage.
The Washington Post reported that Whitaker—after telling Nadler his five minutes were up and prompting laughter from the audience—said: “We have followed the special counsel’s regulations to a ‘T.’ There has been no event, no decision, that has required me to take any action, and I have not interfered in any way with the special counsel’s investigation.”
Whitaker also was pressed to explain his decision not to recuse himself from the investigation, to which CNN said he responded, “the decision was mine to make based on the regulations of the Department of Justice, and I made that decision and I stand by that decision.”
After a lengthy dispute between the DOJ and the House Judiciary Committee, Whitaker agreed to testify Friday after Nadler agreed late Thursday that he would not subpoena him to compel his testimony.
Whitaker could be replaced by President Donald Trump’s nominee, William Barr, as early as next week. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to recommend that the full Senate confirm Barr.