Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is no one’s puppet. He made this absolutely clear during a House Judiciary Committee when pressed by Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell.
Swalwell, a potential 2020 presidential candidate, questioned Whitaker on the Mueller investigation and whether he would relay a message to President Trump.
According to the Washington Examiner, the Democrat asked Whitaker if he thought Mueller was conflicted, or whether he was running an honest investigation.
Whitaker said he thought Mueller was truthful and not conflicted.
Swalwell then asked Whitaker if he would echo the following line to Trump: “Mr. President, Bob Mueller is honest and not conflicted.”
“Congressman, I am not a puppet to repeat what you’re saying,” Whitaker responded. “I have answered your question as to what I believe about the special counsel.”
Whitaker then gestured to the House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold “Jerry” Nadler who said Swalwell was out of time.
Swalwell retorted that Whitaker did not answer the question and that he still wanted to hear his answer.
Whitaker said he had thought he did answer the question and had nothing further to say.
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Here’s more on Whitaker from the Washington Examiner:
Whitaker took over as acting attorney general in November after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced from the position. He previously served as Sessions’ chief of staff.
Since taking over the Justice Department in an acting capacity, Whitaker has come under scrutiny for his past comments about Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
His criticisms of the Russia probe led to calls for him to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation. However, the Justice Department said in December Whitaker would not step aside.
The House Judiciary Committee Hearing included a number of testy exchanges between Whitaker and Democrat lawmakers. The exchanges were called a “pony show” by Republican Congressman Doug Collins.
Check them out: