"There's been no event, no decision that has required me to take any action, and I've not interfered in any way with the special counsel's investigation", he said.
Whitaker then was allowed time to explain how his ascension to be acting attorney general came about.
It will be the first time this Congress a Cabinet-level official has testified publicly before a committee of the Democratic House. The Senate is expected to vote as soon as next week on confirming William Barr, Trump's pick for attorney general. 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. "In the current environment, the American people have to know that there are places in government where the rule of law-not politics-holds sway, and where they will be treated fairly based exclusively on the facts and an even-handed application of the law", he said during his testimony last month.
Nor should it. To say that Whitaker's tenure as acting attorney general has been an embarrassment to the nation is an understatement.
"Mr. Attorney General, we're not joking here, and your humor is not acceptable", Jackson Lee said.
'We have followed the special counsel's regulations to a tee.
Ethics officials at the justice department had called upon Mr Whitaker to recuse himself from the inquiry, as his predecessor Jeff Sessions had done, but he refused.
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"Ultimately, the decision whether or not to recuse was my decision". "I gotta tell you, I say that with sadness, because the attorney general role is America's lawyer".
Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the senior Republican on the panel, suggested that Whitaker's objection was an appropriate 'place to end'. In response to Nadler's questions, Whitaker insisted that he has "not interfered in any way" with the ongoing probe.
Jordan and conservative Republicans have sought unsuccessfully to gain access to the mostly redacted three-page memo that lays out the parameters of the special counsel's investigation. He previously tried backing out of the testimony unless the committee's members promised they would not issue him a subpoena. The committee and Justice Department eventually agreed he would voluntarily appear on February 8. Whitaker eventually agreed to testify when Nadler said late Thursday night that he would not use subpoena him to compel his testimony on Friday.
Jeffries asked "how the heck" he became acting attorney general. Republicans made clear they viewed the hearing as pointless political grandstanding, especially since Whitaker may have less than a week left as the country's chief law enforcement officer. "You don't run the Congress of the United States, and you don't run the Judiciary Committee", Raskin snapped.
Whitaker took over from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on November 7, the day after the midterm election, when Trump successfully sought the resignation of his top law enforcement official.
Collins chided the Democrats for the hearing, characterizing it as "character assassination".