Unsurprisingly, making a guy the U.S. attorney general who used to stump for a now defunct, fraud-riddled patent pushing organization responsible for products like specially designed toilets and hot tubs hasn’t exactly gone smoothly. This Friday, he appeared before the House Judiciary Committee after threatening to skip the long-scheduled hearing over the Democratic majority’s threat to subpoena him if he didn’t answer questions. The answers he did eventually provide earned him scorn from committee members including Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who lambasted the deeply questionable Whitaker for at one point seeming to take the back-and-forth among committee members as humorous.
She’d been trying to get him to acknowledge that although he’s been serving as the top law enforcement officer of the United States for months, he’d never appeared before Congress to allow any sort of oversight of his appointment and behavior. President Donald Trump tapped Whitaker for the position after he pushed out the now former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in part over dissatisfaction with his handling of the Russia investigation, which he declined to orchestrate in Trump’s favor. Whitaker had been serving as Sessions’ chief of staff, and his ascension went against precedent that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would serve as acting attorney general.
Jackson Lee had been seeking yes or no answers from Whitaker in light of the short amount of time she had to actually question him, but Whitaker refused to provide such answers. Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) eventually cut in to insist Whitaker comply with Jackson Lee’s request, at which point ranking committee Republican Rep. Doug Collins (Ga.) cut in to complain about Whitaker’s treatment.
Jackson Lee eventually got back to questioning, at which time Whitaker seemingly mockingly put forward that he didn’t know whether her time for questioning had actually been reset. He’d previously made a similar jab at Nadler himself, answering a question about what role he’d had in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation by suggesting Nadler’s questioning time was up.
This time around, Jackson Lee erupted:
‘Mr. Attorney General, we’re not joking here. Your humor is not acceptable. Now you are here because we have a Constitutional duty to ask questions and the Congress has a right to establish government rules. The rules are that you are here.’
She tried to press him on the question of whether or not he’d discussed Mueller’s Russia investigation with the president and his now former chief of staff John Kelly, but besides suggesting that the media reporting suggesting he has was “fake news,” he didn’t offer much of an answer. The Justice Department had previously indicated that Whitaker would be claiming “executive privilege” in response to a number of Democrats’ stated lines of interest.
While the Judiciary Committee attempted their own version of a Russia investigation, the House Intelligence Committee announced their own renewed Russia investigation this past week that will be looking at other possible corrupt Trump team foreign ties as well.
Unsurprisingly, Trump has continued to rebuff all of the investigative efforts, going so far that he compared them to literal war in his recent State of the Union address.
Featured Image via Screenshot from the video