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Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker Grilled by the House Judiciary Committee

10 February 2019

Whitaker toggled between defending his role in the special counsel's investigation and echoing the president's talking points, conceding for instance that while foreign interference in US elections was a problem, so too was voter fraud - a key issue for Republicans, but one that Democrats say is overstated.

Whitaker then was allowed time to explain how his ascension to be acting attorney general came about.

The testimony comes as Whitaker is likely winding down his tenure leading the Justice Department with the nearly certain confirmation of Attorney General nominee William Barr in the coming weeks.

In a news conference last month, Whitaker said he had been "fully briefed" on the Mueller investigation and that it was nearing a conclusion.

On MSNBC this afternoon, Nicolle Wallace said Whitaker was twisting into "contortions" to not say it when others like Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray have had no problem with. "The Department of Justice must be such a place".

During his tenure, he added, the department has "complied with special counsel regulations and there has been no change in how the department has worked with the special counsel's office".

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Despite Whitaker's clear answer, Jackson Lee complained she wanted a yes or no answer, but Nadler indicated to her that the questions was answered, so she moved on.

"Ultimately, the decision whether or not to recuse was my decision".

"I know you're very interested in the special counsel investigation", Whitaker noted sarcastically.

On Friday, an hour before Whitaker was due to appear, Nadler, along with Reps.

Nadler accused Whitaker of stalling but got pushback from the Republican Collins, who said Jackson Lee's demand of "yes or no" was inappropriate. "But, to answer your questions, I have not talked to the president about the special counsel's investigation".

The committee's ranking member, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., said numerous times that Democrats were asking questions outside the hearing's scope, but Nadler overruled him. The committee and Justice Department eventually agreed he would voluntarily appear on February 8.

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In a letter, the heads of the House Oversight and Reform, Energy and Commerce, Judiciary and Intelligence committees said new records showed Whitaker did not return money to consumers who had complained about the company's practices.

Nadler then used the disruption to call a break.

Jeffries asked "how the heck" he became acting attorney general.

"Mr. Attorney General, we're not joking here, and your humor is not acceptable", the congresswoman responded.

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.

Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) said Friday that the United States government should pay reparations to be made to migrant kids who had been separated from their families at the border.

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It is true that Barr, during his testimony before the Judiciary Committee, declined to make specific promises about how he would carry out his role overseeing the Mueller investigation.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker Grilled by the House Judiciary Committee