Whitaker to return to House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday
Former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is slated to return Wednesday to the House Judiciary Committee after Democrats demanded he provide more details about his conversations with President Donald Trump and White House officials involving the Russia investigation and other probes impacting the presidency.
A Democratic aide said that Whitaker would return to the panel for further questioning after a contentious public hearing in February, when Whitaker would not discuss many of his private conversations with Trump. He is expected to speak behind closed doors with Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, and the committee’s top Republican member, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, to clarify his answers from last month’s testimony.
The push to question Whitaker is one example of how House Democrats plan are employing their new power: They plan to bring back Trump officials to press them to answer their questions if they don’t find their public testimony satisfactory.
In a letter to Whitaker last month following the day-long hearing, Nadler said that many of the answers from the then-acting head of the Justice Department were “unsatisfactory, incomplete or contradicted by other evidence.”
In particular, Nadler pointed to Whitaker’s responses to questions about his discussions with Trump after the President learned he had been implicated by federal prosecutors from New York as part of a hush-money scheme to silence his alleged mistresses. Nadler also said in the letter that Whitaker “suggested somewhat incredulously” that he never aired his concerns about special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe when he interviewed for a White House attorney position with responsibility for dealing with that investigation, something Democrats want to press him on further.
Whitaker, who left his post after Bill Barr was confirmed as attorney general last month, took the acting position after Trump fired Jeff Sessions following last November’s midterms, giving Whitaker authority to oversee the Mueller probe for several months. Since his public testimony, Whitaker has left the Justice Department.