Top Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee called into question the credibility of Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s testimony to the committee last week.
“Although the Committee appreciates your decision to appear, Members on both sides of the aisle found many of your answers to be unsatisfactory, incomplete, or contradicted by other evidence,” Committee Chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler wrote in a formal letter to Whitaker.
“You repeatedly refused to offer clear responses regarding your communications with the White House, and you were inconsistent in your application of the Department’s policy related to the decision on ongoing investigations.”
Last week, Whitaker faced tough questioning from House Democrats who repeatedly asked about Trump’s reaction to Michael Cohen’s guilty plea and whether Whitaker shared an opinion on the Mueller investigation with the administration prior to his hiring.
“Your testimony on the topic is contradicted by several media reports,” Nadler wrote regarding his answers to the Cohen controversy.
“Moreover the Committee has identified several individuals with direct knowledge of the phone calls you denied receiving from the White House. As a result, we require your clarification on this point without delay.”
While the Cohen and Mueller topics were the most heavily addressed in the letter and last week’s hearing, Nadler didn’t limit his concerns to them.
“These are by no means the only areas in which we hope you can elaborate on your testimony,” Nadler wrote, detailing that the Committee is concerned with possible improper communications with the White House in regard to criminal investigations.
The Department of Justice under the Trump[ administration has dramatically changed its stance on a variety of issues, such as immigration via the “zero tolerance” policy and LGBT rights. Nadler honed in on these concerns.
“Given some of your comments, we hope you can provide assurances that the Department of Justice will (1) ensure that asylum seekers will have access to legal counsel as required by law; (2) protect lesbian, gay, and transgender individuals from discriminations, and (3) protect members of the Jewish community (and other religious minorities) from discrimination based on their faith.”
Nadler said he hopes Whitaker can clarify his responses in the “coming days” or the Committee would file a formal deposition.