Republican accuses Democrats of 'dog and pony show' during Whitaker's hearing

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At times, Whitaker appeared to be adopting deliberate stalling tactics to avoid answering Democrats' questions.

Whitaker on learning of Roger Stone indictment before it became public: "I have, again, been briefed on the special counsel's investigation". He was clearly contemptuous of Congress, didn't believe he should be participating in an oversight hearing.

Under questioning from Democrat Chairman Jerry Nadler, Whitaker confirmed he hasn't interfered with the probe or discussed it the White House. Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries later railed at Whitaker.

"I share your concern with the possibility that a media outlet was tipped off to Mr".

Whitaker would only say as acting attorney general he had to "set the tone for the entire department".

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

The testimony comes as Whitaker is likely winding down his tenure leading the Justice Department with the nearly certain confirmation of Attorney General nominee William Barr in the coming weeks.

Many of the Democrats have reservations about Barr that hinge on how he will treat Mueller's investigation.

In response, Whitaker, who previously had agreed to testify, warned that he wouldn't show up unless lawmakers dropped the ultimatum he described as "political theater".

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Lesko said that the entire affair was "quite disgusting" and Democrats were trying to harass Whitaker.

"The Democrats in Congress yesterday were vicious and totally showed their cards for everyone to see", Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday.

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the senior Republican on the panel, suggested that Whitaker's objection was an appropriate 'place to end'.

Whitaker gave key assurances in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee: "I have not interfered in any way" in Mueller's probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. 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.

Mr Trump fired his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, in November 2018. When they did ask questions about the investigation, Republicans asked whether it had strayed from the pursuit of possible crimes to targeting individuals, and whether key Justice Department officials were biased in the investigation. Whitaker was an outspoken critic of the investigation before arriving at the Justice Department in 2017.

"The Dems are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they can not legitimately win!" he said.

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

"Your failure to respond fully to our questions here today in no way limits the ability of this committee to get answers in the long run, even if you are a private citizen when we finally learn the truth", Mr. Nadler said.

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