I have ‘not interfered’ with Mueller investigation, Whitaker says

Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images North America

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images North America

The exchange grew more contentious when Whitaker flatly refused to answer Nadler when he asked whether Whitaker's approval had ever been requested for action by Mueller's probe. "Mr. Chairman", he said, "I see that your five minutes is up".

The retort came after Nadler had chastised Whitaker for evading questions and said that he wanted Whitaker to appear before the committee "in the coming weeks" for a private deposition.

Whitaker testified that he has not discussed the probe with President Donald Trump nor denied funding for it, as Democrats pressed him on everything from his conversations with the President and other White House officials to his decision not to recuse himself from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

The Daily Wire's Emily Zanotti noted, "CNN reports that Whitaker has been "fully briefed" on Mueller's investigation and that he anticipates a swift end to the probe".

"Mr. Attorney General, we're not joking here and your humor is not acceptable", Jackson Lee told Whitaker. He also has longstanding ties to Sam Clovis, the Trump campaign's national co-chairman in the 2016 election who said Mueller had questioned him; in 2014, he chaired Clovis' campaign for Iowa State Treasurer.

Trump's nominee for attorney general, William Barr, is expected to face a Senate confirmation vote next week.

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

At times, Whitaker appeared to be adopting deliberate stalling tactics to avoid answering Democrats' questions.

In response to recusal questions from Democrats, Mr Whitaker has repeated: "It was my decision to make".

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Whitaker continued the tone of his testimony, repeating his challenge of the committee's right to question his actions as head of the Justice Department when her demanded to know if Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) was basing a question on "anonymous sources".

At 9:30 a.m. ET, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

Mr Whitaker, who oversees the special counsel's inquiry into alleged Trump campaign ties with Russian Federation, was grilled by lawmakers in a hearing on Friday.

Republicans on Friday backed Whitaker, with ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga., calling on the committee to adjourn - although a vote to do so did not pass. Collins called the daylong hearing a "dog and pony show".

Members from both sides of the aisle questioned Whitaker during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Friday.

After Sessions recused himself from the federal investigation, its supervision fell to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

"I want to be very specific about this, Mr. Chairman, because I think it's going to allay a lot of fears that have existed among this committee, among the legislative branch largely and maybe amongst some American people", Whitaker added.

Democrats said they would inquire about Whitaker's past business dealings, too.

The good news is that the Whitaker show is unlikely to last much longer at the Department of Justice. "Have you communicated any information in that briefing to President Trump?".

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