Democrats who perceive Whitaker as a Trump loyalist were expected to ask him whether he has made any commitments to the president about Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation and whether he has shared with Trump any inside information.
Amid a contentious hearing with Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, one Democrat scolded the Department of Justice chief, accusing him of not taking the lawmakers' questions seriously.
"We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States".
Watch the hearing live at 9:30 a.m., Friday.
"We have followed the special counsel's regulations to a T, " Whitaker told the House Judiciary Committee.
"There are a whole list of questions we don't know the answers to about foreign interference in the election, foreign influence over this administration and garden variety corruption, interference with justice, obstruction of justice and abuse of power in many ways", he said.
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"Although I can not speak about my communications with the president, I do want to make clear that I am personally committed to the integrity of the Department of Justice", Whitaker wrote. 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 response to Nadler's questions, Whitaker insisted that he has "not interfered in any way" with the ongoing probe.
"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.
Nadler also said Democrats would continue to seek answers once Whitaker left the position.
"Congressman, I'm not a puppet to repeat what you're saying", Whitaker said.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., tried to adjourn the hearing before it started, saying it was an attempt at character assassination of Trump.
"We had the show yesterday", Collins said.
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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.
"In your capacity as acting attorney general, have you ever been asked to approve any request or action to be taken by the special counsel?" asked Nadler.
"I'm thinking about maybe we just set up a popcorn machine in the back because that's what this is becoming", he said.
Whitaker: I have no reason to believe he's not honest, so, yes, I do believe he's honest. The committee, he said, still needed answers from Whitaker on several fronts, including his communication with the President after his briefings on Mueller's probe and the exact dates of those briefings.
The questions from Democrats were aggressive, particularly on the question of Whitaker's oversight of the Mueller probe.
Trump's nominee for attorney general, William Barr, is expected to face a Senate confirmation vote next week.
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He talks to Anna Maria Tremonti about his time working on Trump's campaign, and having the president's ear. Jackson Lee asked. She also asked Whitaker to confirm or deny media reports that he had one-on-one phone calls with the president or Kelly before Sessions's firing.