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Mr Whitaker, President Donald Trump's pick to temporarily fill the top justice department role, added there had been "no change in the overall management" of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) laid into Congressional Democrats during Friday's hearing for Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, calling the hearing "pointless" and a "character assassination".

Nadler called the hearing to provide oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice, which Whitaker has overseen since former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sacked in November. "You decided that your private interest in overseeing this particular investigation-and perhaps others from which you should have been recused-was more important than the integrity of the Department", Nadler said.

"The Acting Attorney General will testify that at no time did the White House ask for, or did the Acting Attorney General provide, any promises or commitments concerning the Special Counsel's investigation", Boyd wrote.

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.

Democrats became increasingly agitated at what they saw as Whitaker's efforts to run out the clock and control the hearing process.

Mr Whitaker, who oversees the special counsel's inquiry into alleged Trump campaign ties with Russian Federation, was grilled by lawmakers in a hearing on Friday. His full prepared testimony is below.

There was laughter and audible "Ohhhs" in the room as Nadler smiled and Whitaker attempted to justify his non-answer by saying, "I'm here voluntarily, we've agreed to five-minute rounds".

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He called the press conference an opportunity "for him to resign gracefully and we are disappointed that he didn't do that". He said if he had posed for that picture, "I would have remembered that". "Ralph, back then and even now, is not a racist".

Answering questions from Nadler, Whitaker said he hasn't spoken with Mr. Trump or senior White House officials about the Mueller probe.

"I am aware of that, and it was deeply concerning to me as to how CNN found out about that", Whitaker said.

Republican Doug Collins assailed the objective for the hearing and unsuccessfully called for it to be adjourned. Nadler said he hoped not to have to use the subpoena, but "a series of troubling events over the past few months suggest that we should be prepared".

Swalwell, who primarily questioned Whitaker with regard to the Mueller investigation, began by asking whether the acting AG felt as though Mueller were an honest man.

"In your capacity as acting attorney general, have you ever been asked to approve any request or action to be taken by the special counsel?" asked Nadler. Answer the question, please, ' he pressed.

In a long Twitter thread, Mariotti said that House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) gave Whitaker the questions he would be asked ahead of time.

Nadler had pushed for Whitaker - whom Trump appointed in November after his predecessor Jeff Sessions was forced out - to testify before the confirmation of his likely replacement, William Barr.

Differences over a barrier were the crux of a dispute between Democrats and Trump that led to the recent partial government shutdown - and the government could shut down again unless negotiators can make progress on a deal to fund the Department of Homeland Security. Jordan recalled how Rosenstein "got all huffy" with him when he asked him if there were other "specific individuals" mentioned in the memo.


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