Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker Infuriates House Dems at Hearing

Whitaker's highly anticipated testimony Friday had been in limbo after the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee approved a tentative subpoena to ensure that he appeared and answered questions.

"Political theater is not the objective of an oversight hearing, and I will not allow that to be the case", Whitaker said.

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".

Moscow has rejected USA intelligence findings that the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 presidential campaign, and Mr Trump has repeatedly denied any campaign collusion with Russian Federation. The then-Republican-led committee investigated the matter a year ago and shut it down before the 116th Congress arrived. Steve Cohen on Friday if he also thought it was, Whitaker declined to answer, citing the ongoing investigation. Trump waited a month to nominate William Barr to the permanent position after Whitaker took over. (The Senate is slated to vote on Barr next week).

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep.

During the hearing on Friday, Nadler threatened to force Whitaker to go back in front of the committee for a deposition.

White House officials kept an eye on Whitaker's performance and, while they appreciated his combative tone and aggressive defense of the administration, there was a sense from aides that his performance, at times, appeared halting and ill-prepared. That referred to the time limits for questions - one normally addressed by lawmakers, not witnesses.

Whitaker continued the tone of his testimony, repeating his challenge of the committee's right to question his actions as head of the Justice Department when her demanded to know if Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) was basing a question on "anonymous sources". I'm asking you a question.

Republicans dismissed the hearing with Whitaker as a political stunt and moved to end it before it began.

The hearing room erupted in gasps when Whitaker pushed back strongly against a question from Nadler about whether he had ever been asked to approve any action requested by Mueller.

"Mr. Attorney General, we are not joking here and your humor is not acceptable", she said.

"We require answers to these questions".

Jackson asked if Whitaker would've notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation if a hostile foreign power contacted him offering dirt on his opponent during his own failed campaign for Senate. Mr. Whitaker, you don't run this committee.

Within minutes of the hearing, the top Republican, Rep. Doug Collins, called for a vote to adjourn, although he was quickly overruled by Democrats.

But with Democrats in control, the adjournment vote was quickly defeated.

Democrats said they would inquire about Whitaker's past business dealings, too.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, showed a heavily redacted memo and questioned whether it included the names of American citizens being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Whitaker oversees the Mueller probe.

It was unclear whether Whitaker would even show up until late Thursday night after weeks of disputes between the Department of Justice and the House Judiciary committee.

Vanessa Coleman