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Whitaker’s appearance at the 9:30 a.m. hearing ended a subpoena standoff between Democrats and the Justice Department, but he drew a strict line about what questions he would answer. “I do not intend to talk about my private conversations with the president nor White House officials,” Whitaker said several times as Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., pressed him about his communications with the president concerning the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller.

A day before the hearing, the committee voted to authorize Nadler to subpoena Whitaker after the acting attorney general declined to answer certain questions submitted in advance about communications with White House officials and Whitaker’s refusal to recuse himself from supervising Mueller’s investigation, contrary to the recommendation of the top Justice Department’s ethics adviser.

Whitaker, who had been appointed last November by President Trump after Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned under pressure, threatened to not testify before the committee if he was subpoenaed. Whitaker finally agreed to appear when Nadler agreed to not issue him with a subpoena, according to a statement by a Justice Department spokesperson.

In his opening remarks before Whittaker’s testimony, ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., called the hearing “a “dog and pony show,” mockingly suggesting “we just set up a popcorn machine in the back.”

Source : AP