New York Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler refused to clarify questions directed at acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker during his hearing with the House Judiciary Committee Friday, causing Whitaker to push back.
Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, questioned Whitaker on his briefings with special counsel Robert Mueller’s work and his conversations with President Donald Trump after those briefings, on which Whitaker pushed back, asking Nadler what the basis of his question was, also saying he has not had any conversations with Trump about his private meetings with Mueller.
“How many times were you briefed about the special council’s work and when did the briefings take place?” Nadler asked Whitaker.
“Mr. chairman I’ve said all that I’m planning on saying about the number of times or the briefings that I’ve received on special counsel’s investigation. It is the subject matter of an ongoing investigation I think it would be very improper for me as I stated earlier to talk anymore about it,” Whitaker responded.
“Whether you were briefed is a subject of an ongoing investigation? I didn’t follow that,” Nadler continued.
“No the number of times I’ve been briefed in my involvement in the investigation sir,” Whitaker said.
“Well it’s our understanding that at least one briefing occurred in December before your decision not to recuse yourself in December 19th and Christmas Day is that correct?,” Nadler asked.
“What’s the basis for that question, sir?,” Whitaker questioned.
“Yes or no? It it is our understanding that at least one brief occurred between your decision not to recuse yourself on December 19th and six days later Christmas Day, is that correct simple enough question yes or no?,” Nadler pressed.
“Mr. chairman, again what is the basis for your question?,” Whitaker asked.
“I’m asking the questions I only have five minutes. So please answer yes or no,” Nadler continued.
“No, Mr. chairman, you were asking me a question, it is your understanding, can you tell me where get the basis for your understanding?,” Whitaker continued.
“No I’m not gonna tell you that. I don’t have time to get into that. I’m just asking you if that’s correct or not. Is it correct? Were you briefed in that time period between December 19th in Christmas they’ve a simple question yes or no?” Nadler said.
“Congressman if every member here today asked questions based on their mere speculation and don’t have a factual basis for the question it is very difficult for me to answer,” Whitaker fired back. (RELATED: Matthew Whitaker: Mueller Probe ‘Close To Being Completed’)
“Yes or no, at any point since that briefing have you communicated any information you learned in that briefing to President Trump?” Nadler said.
“Mr. chairman as I’ve said earlier today in my opening remarks I do not intend today to talk about my private conversations with the president of the United States but to answer your question I have not talked to the president United States about the special counsel’s investigation,” Whitaker repeated.
“So the answer’s no? Thank you,” Nadler concluded.
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