Whitaker to Nadler: 'Your 5 minutes are up'

Geraldine Edwards
February 11, 2019

Nadler wrote in a letter to the Acting Attorney General, "To the extent that you believe you are unable to fully respond to any specific question, we are prepared to handle your concerns on a case-by-case basis, both during and after tomorrow's hearing".

Jerry Nadler asks Matthew Whitaker if he has ever been asked to approve any request or action to be taken by the Special Counsel.

On Friday morning, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker told Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that he had exceeded his five-minute time limit during a Justice Department oversight hearing, drawing gasps from the packed room. He gave an ultimatum, saying he would only testify if the House dropped its threat of a subpoena.

But that didn't stop Nadler from trying one more time.

Whitaker said he can't talk about ongoing investigations, but that yes, he has been briefed on them.

"[Democrats] are going so far to the left, so radical, so rude that I think the American public is gonna wake up", she said.

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Before joining the department, Whitaker had publicly criticized special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation in columns and in TV interviews. "Political theater is not the objective of an oversight hearing, and I will not allow that to be the case", he added.

Since Democrats took control of the House last month, they have launched several congressional inquiries into Mr Trump's business dealings and his actions as president. (He said he had not.) Throughout, they scuffled over who was running the place.

Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the panel, called the subpoena authorization "political theater" before the vote.

"In my view, your conduct, Mr. Whitaker - including your decision to ignore important ethics advice when you became acting attorney general, no matter the consequences - your conduct, sir, falls well short of the mark", Nadler said.

Whitaker's testimony comes one day after the Senate Judiciary Committee narrowly voted to advance William Barr's nomination to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general along party lines.

"Mr. Attorney General, we're not joking here, and your humor is not acceptable", Jackson Lee said.

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The tone of the hearing had been teased on Thursday when Nadler threatened to subpoena Whitaker, while the DOJ threatened to boycott the hearing.

Committee members are allotted five minutes to ask questions of Whitaker, or any other witness testifying, but those five minutes are monitored by the Chair and can be fluid.

"Do you agree with the president's characterization of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation?" she asked.

They want answers from the Justice Department about immigration policy and border enforcement as the slow-burning feud continues down Pennsylvania Avenue over more barriers on the Southern border with Mexico.

The stalemate ended Thursday evening after the committee chairman, Nadler, said the committee would not issue a subpoena if Whitaker appeared voluntarily.

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