Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has agreed to testify on Friday before the House Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department said on Thursday, after he threatened to not show up following the panel's warning that it could subpoena him.
Democrats are anxious that Whitaker, whose public comments before taking over the Justice Department suggested he was sympathetic to Trump and critical of the Mueller probe, may seek to evade questions he is asked during the proceedings.
"If you appear before the Committee tomorrow morning and if you are prepared to respond to questions from our members, then I assure you that there will be no need for the Committee to issue a subpoena on or before February 8", Nadler wrote. "Without the threat of a subpoena, I believe it may be hard to hold Mr. Whitaker to this standard".
After Whitaker didn't respond by the Wednesday deadline, Nadler held a committee mark-up on Thursday at which the committee voted to give him the authority to subpoena Whitaker - a subpoena Nadler said he'd only issue if Whitaker declined to answer the previewed questions.
Senior DOJ officials told Fox News the department had a "fulsome letter in response [to Nadler] addressing executive privilege". He said that move is a breach of his agreement with the committee.
In most cases, Congress and the administration have first negotiated over the disclosure of presidential communications after a witness initially declined to testify about them in a voluntary hearing.
"I think he's an outstanding person". The Democrat stopped short of withdrawing the threat of an eventual subpoena.Читайте также: Thai Political Party Upsets Norms With Princess Nomination
Whitaker and Boyd's letters Thursday are early indicators that the president's legal team will take an aggressive approach to stall the disclosure of conversations between Trump and his advisers to House investigators. "The Chairman should focus on helping the American people, rather than wasting time playing pointless political games".
Democrats plan to question Whitaker about his refusal to recuse himself from Special Counsel Mueller's Russian Federation investigation, and his conversations with President Donald Trump.
Nadler argued in a letter to Whitaker that he could not claim the White House reserved the right to claim executive privilege to avoid answering those questions. He asked Whitaker to consult with the White House ahead of the hearing and tell the committee whether he would invoke privilege.
Shortly before Whitaker's threat to withdraw from the hearing, the House Judiciary Committee had voted 23-13 along party lines to have a subpoena ready in case Whitaker fails to show up or refuses to answer questions. Republicans strongly opposed the measure, saying it was unnecessary because Whitaker was appearing voluntarily. "There has been no breakdown here". Whitaker couldn't walk into the hearing and say he was surprised by the questions and couldn't answer because the president needs time.
"We want to add Mr. Rosenstein to get at the heart of the matter of the questions", said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), who presented the amendment to add Rosenstein's name to the subpoena authorization.
He noted it's a potential criminal charge, which would raise conflicts of interest issues because Whitaker oversees the department.
Several Republicans on the committee pushed for former Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, to subpoena Rosenstein in the last Congress, though he ultimately did not appear.При любом использовании материалов сайта и дочерних проектов, гиперссылка на обязательна.
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