Thursday night the acting head of the United States Justice Department (DoJ)—President Donald Trump’s interim appointee for Attorney General Matt Whitaker—agreed to appear before the House Judiciary Committee.
Whitaker was called to answer questions about his involvement in the DoJ ordered investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible cooperation by members of the Trump campaign. Whitaker’s appointment drew immediate questions about his planned involvement in the investigation led by DoJ appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller based on prior statements Whitaker made.
While the DoJ emphasized Whitaker volunteered to appear at the congressional hearing, the agreement was made under the condition he would not be subpoenaed to testify.
But his testimony was less than cooperative once the hearing began.
One clip, in particular, set Twitter ablaze, when Chairman Jerry Nadler asked Whitaker whether he has “ever been asked to approve any request or action to be taken by the Special Counsel.”
And Whitaker replied:
“Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up.”
Twitter wasn’t the only thing to light up at the acting Attorney General’s comment, the hearing room’s audible reaction of disbelief was evident as well.
Watch the exchange here:
Jerry Nadler asks Matthew Whitaker if he has ever been asked to approve any request or action to be taken by the Special Counsel.
Whitaker: “Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up.”
The response in the room is remarkable. Via CSPAN2 pic.twitter.com/UAcOyulX46
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 8, 2019
Representative Nadler was unable to contain his amusement at Whitaker’s attempt to avoid answering his question and to control the House Judiciary hearing.
“Mr. Chairman, i see that your five minutes is up,” Matt Whitaker says to Jerry Nadler, who controls the committee and can decide to talk as long as he’d like, essentially.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) February 8, 2019
Whitaker also decided to try again with Texas Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee. But Jackson Lee reminded the acting AG of where he was and to whom he was speaking.
Whitaker makes a snide remark about Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s time.
Her response: “Mr Attorney General, we’re not joking here and your humor is not acceptable”
— Betsy Woodruff (@woodruffbets) February 8, 2019
People found Whitaker’s attitude and testimony troubling.