Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker openly clashed with House Democrats Friday during a contentious Capitol Hill hearing — and denied he’s interfered in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Whitaker bristled as he fielded questions from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Judiciary panel, about Mueller, even admonishing the lawmaker for going over his allotted time during a particularly testy exchange.
“Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up,” Whitaker responded to Nadler, prompting gasps and mutterings throughout the packed room.
“I am here voluntarily. We have agreed to five minute rounds,” he added.
Nadler, who appeared momentarily flustered by the display, had asked whether Whitaker has had a role in approving any “request or action to be taken by the special counsel.”
“There’s been no event or decision that’s required me to take any action, and I have not interfered in any way with the special counsel’s investigation,” the 49-year-old interim AG eventually responded.
Whitaker also testified that he has not talked to President Trump or senior White House officials about the investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.