Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker testifies before the House Judiciary Committee

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker testifies before the House Judiciary Committee

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he will testify Friday morning before the House Judiciary Committee, signaling an apparent end to a subpoena fight that had threatened to derail his first and perhaps only appearance before the panel while leading the Justice Department.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said on Friday that he has "not interfered in any way" in the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation as he faced a contentious and partisan congressional hearing in his waning days on the job.

"Mr. Chairman, I can see that your five minutes is up", Whitaker said, eliciting both laughs and gasps. We have agreed to five-minute rounds, ' said Whitaker, the only one in the room who appeared unaware that committee chairmen can bend the rules almost at will.

In a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, the Justice Department outlined a number of questions that Whitaker is prepared to answer.

Democrats repeatedly accused Whitaker of running out the clock by giving them evasive or rambling answers in the hearing.

A few hours later, Nadler tweeted, "CONFIRMED: Acting Attorney General Whitaker will appear".

At the hearing, Whitaker said that he had not interfered in the Mueller investigation.

One of Nadler's main concerns has been that Whitaker will assert executive privilege to avoid answering questions at the hearing.

"The subpoena will only be issued if he refuses to answer questions on a speculative basis of privilege", Nadler said.

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Nadler originally invited Whitaker to appear before the committee for an open hearing scheduled for Friday. Nadler said that is "ridiculous" and administration officials must provide the committee with answers or a better excuse to withhold them.

"While DOJ claims that Whitaker made no promises to Trump about undermining the Mueller investigation, there were published reports that Trump asked Whitaker to control the prosecutors in the Southern District of NY", he explained.

Republicans on the committee also strongly opposed Nadler's resolution to approve a subpoena if necessary. "The chairman--he could take all day to ask the question if he wanted to".

On Thursday, Democrats on the committee marked up a subpoena for possible use to compel his cooperation. "We have agreed to five-minute rounds". Whitaker responded by saying that he would not come unless the committee dropped its subpoena threat.

In his opening remarks before Whittaker's testimony, ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga., called the hearing "a "dog and pony show", mockingly suggesting "we just set up a popcorn machine in the back".

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has also announced a sweeping investigation into Mr Trump's actions as president, and has hired former White House staff members to aid in the probe.

'The attorney general was in the middle of saying something.

Those conversations would fall under executive privilege. "House Democrats and the public deserve to know if Trump is corruptly trying to quash or undermine the investigation of him, his company, and his friends. He's an outstanding person, a very very fine man", Trump said during a presidential memorandum signing in the Oval Office Thursday.

Whitaker has been undertaking significant preparations ahead of the hearing, including conducting briefings with every the Justice Department component and participating in several mock hearings, according to the officials.

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